Sacroiliac Joint Disorders

Located on both sides of your lower back and held in place by strong ligaments, the sacroiliac (SI) joints link your pelvis and lower spine, supporting the weight of your upper body when you stand and providing shock absorption for your spine. Because of the vital role these joints play in the body, they are a common source of low back pain.

Sacroiliac joint disorders involve inflammation of one or both joints, causing pain in your buttocks or lower back that may extend down one or both legs, and is often aggravated by prolonged standing, stair climbing, lifting, running or even walking. You may also experience numbness or tingling in the impacted leg.

Sacroiliac joint disorders can have many causes:

  • Traumatic injury caused by sudden impact, such as a motor vehicle accident or a fall.
  • Arthritis, including osteoarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects the spine.
  • Pregnancy, in which the sacroiliac joints loosen and stretch to accommodate childbirth. The added weight and altered gait during pregnancy can cause additional stress on these joints and can lead to abnormal wear.
  • Uneven leg length or weakness in one leg resulting in uneven movement and wear on the joint.
  • Infection of the sacroiliac joint, in rare cases.

A sacroiliac joint disorder can be difficult to diagnose because it may be mistaken for a herniated disc, hip problem or other cause of low back pain. We will evaluate your symptoms and the underlying cause of your disorder, and develop an appropriate treatment plan for you. When physical therapy, stretching exercises, pain medication and/or joint injections fail to bring sufficient pain relief, surgery may be needed.


Sacroiliac joint fusion is a minimally invasive surgery option that promotes stabilization and fusion of the SI joint to help provide pain relief. A small incision is made along the side of the buttock where the joint connects the spine and pelvic, or hip, bone. Using X-ray technology, the surgeon places two or three metal implants in the area to stabilize the joint and fuse the two bones together. The surgery takes about one hour, and you may be able to return home the same day or the following day.

Prevention is key to avoiding the reoccurrence of sacroiliac joint pain. Practicing proper lifting techniques, good posture during sitting/standing/moving/sleeping and regular exercise with stretching and strengthening are ways to help prevent the disorder.

Our surgeons are trained to diagnose and treat common and rare spine conditions with a personalized approach. Your treatment will be based on your individual needs and symptoms.