Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction in New Jersey

What is Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction?

The sacroiliac (SI) joints connect the base of the spine (the “sacrum”) to the ilium of the pelvis or hip bone. When there is abnormal motion or inflammation of these joints, severe pain can result. The condition is known as “Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Dysfunction.” There are several different names for this condition, including SI Joint Syndrome, SI Joint Dysfunction and SI Joint Inflammation.

Symptoms of SI Joint Dysfunction

One of the most common signs of SI Joint Dysfunction is severe pain and inflammation within the buttocks or lower back region. For most patients, the pain will gradually become worse when they run or stand for long periods of time. In severe cases, it hurts just to lie down due to direct pressure on the joint.

A man holding his lower back while sitting in a chair

Causes of SI Joint Dysfunction

SI Joint dysfunction can be brought on by various conditions, including traumatic injury to the joint, infection, or pregnancy. Sometimes this condition is acquired after spinal fusion. Other times patients develop this condition due to age related degenerative changes without prior history of injury.

Diagnosis of SI Joint Dysfunction

A woman bent over holding her lower back due to sacroiliac joint dysfunction

Diagnosing this condition will include a physical examination, which will enable the doctor to evaluate the patient’s medical history. The doctor will first ask questions, to determine if there are any underlying medical conditions which could be contributing to the patient’s pain, and differentiating pain coming from the SI Joints, lumbar spine, and hips. Doctors will also perform exams, such as x-rays and CT scans, which will help give them a detailed look at the patient’s joints and bones. A sacroiliac joint steroid injection will also help in diagnosing this condition.

Treatment and Surgery for SI Joint Dysfunction

For some patients, a sacroiliac joint steroid injection can be used to treat this condition. This procedure will involve the careful injection of steroids, along with a local anesthetic and saline solution, into the joint to reduce pain. However, when nonsurgical methods do not alleviate the patient’s condition, SI Joint Fusion Surgery may be a solution. SI Joint Fusion surgery is a minimally-invasive procedure, which should be considered when other, more conservative methods have failed. The procedure is performed through a small incision, taking about an hour to complete. Due to the procedure being performed through a small incision, patients should experience a quicker healing time and less irritation. Post-surgery, patients should have plenty of rest, limit weight bearing on the treated side and take pain medication as prescribed.

At Princeton Neurological Surgery Dr. John Lipani, a board-certified fellowship trained specialist in spinal surgery, treats sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction with minimally invasive surgery. Dr. Lipani is a specialist in the treatment for SI joint dysfunction and many other spinal conditions such as spinal stenosis, herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, low back pain, neck pain, spinal tumors, spinal cancer and more. Dr. Lipani treats patients from around the world, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey including locally from Princeton, New Brunswick, Hopewell, Pennington and communities throughout Somerset, Middlesex, Ocean, Burlington, Monmouth, Morris and Mercer Counties for SI joint dysfunction. Dr. Lipani offers image guided spine surgery approaches and the latest in minimally invasive spine procedures for sacroiliac joint dysfunction treatment, tailored to the needs of each patient. For more information about SI joint fusion in greater Princeton, New Jersey, or to learn about minimally invasive spine surgery, call or email us to schedule a consultation at our offices in Hamilton, Bridgewater, or Morristown, New Jersey!

Many patients needing spinal surgery don’t want to travel far from home to see a specialist in another state. With Dr. Lipani, you have sacroiliac joint dysfunction surgery options and never have to leave New Jersey. Dr. Lipani makes sure all his patients are well taken care of before and after neurosurgery, making them feel like part of the family.


Are There Any Preventative Measures for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction?

You can take several steps to maintain joint health and reduce joint stress. Here are some changes that can make a positive impact:

  • Exercising regularly: Focus on workouts that strengthen the core and improve flexibility. Yoga is a popular option.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight: This decreases the load on the joints, preventing excessive wear and tear.
  • Practicing good posture: This lessens strain on the SI joints during daily activities.
  • Using ergonomic furniture: This also reduces SI joint strain. It can be helpful during work and when performing other tasks.

What Lifestyle Changes Can Help Manage Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction?

Managing SI joint dysfunction often requires lifestyle changes to reduce pain and improve mobility. Examples include:

  • Incorporating low-impact exercises (walking, swimming, or yoga). They strengthen the muscles around the SI joints and increase flexibility. 
  • Using proper lifting techniques and staying away from activities that exacerbate pain. 
  • Applying heat or cold therapy to relieve discomfort and inflammation. 
  • Sticking to a healthy diet to manage weight and reduce inflammation.
  • Ensuring that sleeping surfaces and seating arrangements adequately support the lower back and pelvis.

How Does SI Joint Dysfunction Differ From Sciatica?

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction and sciatica can both cause lower back pain. However, they have different origins and characteristics. 

SI joint dysfunction arises from problems within the SI joints. It often results in localized pain in the lower back, buttocks, and sometimes the groin. 

Sciatica results from sciatic nerve compression or irritation. It leads to radiating pain that extends from the lower back down through the buttocks and legs.

What Is the Difference Between SI Joint Dysfunction and Arthritis?

Both sacroiliac joint dysfunction and arthritis can cause pain. However, they differ in their underlying mechanisms. 

SI joint dysfunction often involves abnormal movement or inflammation of the SI joints. It can result from injury, overuse, or pregnancy. 

Arthritis is a degenerative condition. It is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage and inflammation within the joint. It leads to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. 

Arthritis can also affect any joint, including the SI joints. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is specific to the SI joints.

Who Is a Candidate for Sacroiliac Joint Fusion Surgery?

Candidates for sacroiliac joint fusion surgery include:

  • Individuals who have chronic, debilitating pain that has not responded to conservative treatments.
  • Those who have a confirmed diagnosis of SI joint dysfunction through imaging studies and diagnostic injections.
  • Patients who are in good general health, non-smokers, and have realistic expectations.

What Is the Recovery Time After Sacroiliac Joint Fusion Surgery?

The recovery time after sacroiliac joint fusion surgery can vary. Generally, though, patients can expect a healing period of several weeks to a few months. 

At first, patients may need to limit their activities. They may also require assistive devices such as crutches or a walker. Gradual movement reintroduction and physical therapy are crucial. This will help you regain strength and mobility. 

Most people can return to light movements within a few weeks. A full recovery and return to all normal activities may take several months. Following the surgeon’s postoperative care instructions is essential for successful healing.

If you would like more information about our services or to schedule an appointment, feel free to fill out our convenient contact form or call us directly at (609) 890-3400.

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