SI (sacroiliac) joint pain has been often cited as a source of lower back pain. In the 19th century, the SI joint was often cited as a cause of patient’s lumbar symptomatology. Given that a patient’s clinical history, physical exam findings, and imaging studies cannot reliable assess SI joint pain, such a diagnosis has been a subject of ongoing debate in the more recent decades. A new CNN article reports on SI joint pain as a potential source of patient’s lower back pain that may be commonly missed by spine surgeons.
More recent studies have found that SI joint pain is an uncommon but true potential source of lower back pain. This diagnosis, however, can be confirmed only with a diagnostic joint injection. Therapeutic treatment focused on the SI joint may be misdirected without such confirmation, particularly given that it has been found to occur in only 10-15% of patients.