Diagnosing Sacroiliac Joint Pain
Back pain can originate in many different areas. Like stomach pain, the first step in treating back pain is determining where the pain is emanating from. This is because many common conditions can cause non-specific low back pain. For example, sacroiliac (SI) joint pain can mimic the symptoms of sciatica or lumber spine pain. Approximately 15-30% of low back pain cases can be contributed to the SI joint.
The steps involved in the diagnosis of SI joint pain include obtaining a medical history, completing a physical exam, and ruling out other possible pain conditions. In addition, radiographic images will often be obtained.
Through a physical exam, the healthcare provider will perform diagnostic tests to determine what might be causing a patient’s pain. It is common for a patient with SI joint pain to have tenderness over this region. Although this does not rule out other spinal pathologies, it can lead a physician to consider SI joint pain.
It is crucial for a physician to rule out other pain conditions, such as hip arthritis, pinched nerves in the back (i.e., sciatica), or facet joint arthritis. By eliminating other potential pain generators, the physician can come to the diagnosis of SI joint pain and begin treatment. Since these other conditions can cause similar symptoms, it is important to identify the correct source of the pain to create the most effective treatment plan.