How common is SI joint pain?
I believe is one of the most important questions. SI joint pain is quite common. I have been performing SI joint fusion surgeries for many years, even before the minimally invasive surgery (MIS) technique. SI joint fusion surgeries used to be done as an open procedure. By nature, the open technique for SI joint fusion surgery was a very long, messy ordeal. The risk vs. benefit ratio in this early, open method was not always in favor of the patient and many physicians stopped doing them. Doctors tend to concentrate more on diseases that can be treated effectively and SI joint diseases were not in this circle until recently. As a result, SI joint fusion became a neglected form of treatment until minimally invasive approaches were established. Physicians would diagnose or rule out everything else before even considering the SI joint as a potential cause of low back pain. In the last few years, awareness has continued to grow in favor of the SI joint as a possible cause of low back pain.
The technological advances in SI joint fusion have given physicians a realistic way of offering this surgical treatment for the SI joint. We, physicians, are looking at SI joint fusion in a different aspect – an aspect of something we can treat more efficiently and safely.
Essentially, physicians are giving SI joint fusion a second chance as a form of treatment as opposed to ignoring SI joint dysfunction as a potential cause of pain. I believe SI joint dysfunction will become a more commonly diagnosed source of a patient’s symptoms.