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Old 03-13-2005, 10:43 PM   #1
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SI joint dysfunction

Hi, I'm new here. I fell on my back six months ago, landing on my left lower back. I've had pain every day since, and just finished 12 PT visits. X-rays didn't show anything out of the ordinary, except for slight scoliosis. PT hasn't help much at all, although my PT has been very nice and has tried. He tried doing some manipulations which are supposed to get the SI joints even again. My last treatment resulted in much pain two weeks ago where I had numbness and tingling in my buttocks and down the leg. The pain I've been having since my fall has been sharp pains when I twist or move, and just an aching back when sitting or standing too long.

As a result, I had an MRI last week, and will get the results tomorrow. I really don't know what to expect from the MRI since I've heard it doesn't show SI joint injuries very well, if at all. Anyone here have a similar problem, and how was it treated? Thanks!

 
Old 03-14-2005, 08:10 AM   #2
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Re: SI joint dysfunction

dont be dis heartend by the mri results si joints are really hard to diognose and the only really true method to find out that it is them is by having an injection into them hope this helps

 
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Old 03-14-2005, 10:59 AM   #3
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Re: SI joint dysfunction

i agree, keep plugging away and don't give up!

my si joint took 4 yrs to id, b/c they couldn't tell if it was separate from my other probs or radiation from my annular tear. (also have sciatica)

if you have pain in your backside (no joke intended!) and down the back of your thigh, then that sounds like sciatica. if xrays and mris, though, are negative, get your pcp to place pressure along your piriformis muscle (runs under glutes out to hip bone on side) to see if it's the cause of your pain.

i started refusing treatment until i was properly diagnosed. that, unfortunately, took 3 years. but i prefer that to potentially lifelong suffering at the hands of unknown ailments!

welcome, and keep us posted on your progress!
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Rampage
Accident '00
Sciatica, L3-4 Tear, Spinal Stenosis, DDD L3-S1
IDET '04
Laminectomy '06
Fusion (BMP) L4-5 '11
Anterior Fusion (BMP) L3-S1 '13

 
Old 03-14-2005, 04:55 PM   #4
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Re: SI joint dysfunction

Thank you so much for the welcome! My MRI showed I have arthritis in the L4-5 levels on both sides. It's worse on the side where I had the injury, and where I have the stabbing pains. No disc herniation, no compressions, no central canal stenosis. Limited view of the SI joints appeared normal bilaterally (my PT did a few treatments to align my SI joints, the left side was set lower when I first started). So, I guess that worked.

The surgeon is finished with me, he is sending me to a pain mgmt doc (physiatrist)? I see him on Friday. His assistant spoke with me today regarding my app't, and the doc will go over my X-ray, MRI, and talk with my PT. The arthritis makes sense b/c I have had alot of stiffness along with my stabbing pain, stiffness actually in my entire lower back. I was told he will most likely inject the contrast dye. I'm not surprised the SI problems didn't show up, I kind of expected that. However, the first doc didn't seem to think my scoliosis (found that on my X-ray) or my arthritis would cause me any problems. The PT and pain mgmt clinic did not agree since even what one doc thinks is no big deal, is a big deal to the person having the pain!! My PT, who has spent many hours with me, went over my test results line by line, where the doc didn't. He said my arthritis is most definitely an issue. It could have started as a result of the injury, or the injury could have worsened what I already had. I tend to think I've had it awhile since I've had overall back pain and stiffness from time to time. I also had a fall when I was a young kid when I fell directly on my tailbone. I slipped on icy concrete steps, and couldn't walk for a couple of days. Back then, parents didn't really take you to the doc much!!

I'm also scheduled for an unrelated surgery in three weeks for a uterine ablasion, and lap. for possible endometriosis. I get severe back pain every month, and now I'm wondering how much my arthritis flares up b/c of hormonal changes. Maybe I'll get more answers then.

One more thing....first doc said it was normal to get arthritis at my age (44), but PT and pain mgmt clinic said it wasn't all that normal.

Thanks for the great tips and information!

 
Old 03-15-2005, 05:38 PM   #5
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Re: SI joint dysfunction

i totally understand what you're saying...although i have scoliosis (16 degree, so very mild) and the resulting shorter left leg, that wasn't the cause of my problems. it was falling on my head from a horse at 30 mph that did that. i had previously had some extremely mild lower back pain (muscular though) and some knots in my mid to upper back from the scoliosis, but that was it. once i had the accident, my whole life went down the crapper (sorry for the military language...dad was an AF pilot! very bad habit). and even though these previous issues aren't the cause, they certainly don't help me in any fashion.

what's hard for me to get is how every one of my problems from the fall were so hard to diagnose. no ah-hah! or anything...made it SO frustrating. and even though i had DDD in my L4-5 found on my MRIs, my Annular Tear (which was HUGE) was never seen in 5 MRIs, even 1 done AFTER it was finally found!

frankly, i don't think there's ever a STANDARD age to begin experiencing arthritis or anything else...i mean, how many have suffered heart attacks in their 30's??? It may not be the average age, but you can begin to suffer things much earlier than others for any reason - genetics, lifestyle, diet, you name it.

keep us posted, and hope all goes well for ya!
__________________
Rampage
Accident '00
Sciatica, L3-4 Tear, Spinal Stenosis, DDD L3-S1
IDET '04
Laminectomy '06
Fusion (BMP) L4-5 '11
Anterior Fusion (BMP) L3-S1 '13

 
Old 03-15-2005, 07:12 PM   #6
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Re: SI joint dysfunction

Wow, that fall sounds very scary!!! I rode on a horse one time on a vacation at a guided trail. My DD's horse went crazy, ran off the trail, and threw her off in a field. She was only about 10 years old. She didn't get hurt, but was pretty shook up. We haven't tried riding since.

You are right about the age issue....there's always that *average* in anything, but it's not set in stone whatsoever. Plus, there's never a set way of how things happen. My best friend found out she has stage III breast cancer a few months ago (49 years old). All the MRI's in the world would not have found it, it was undetectable. She couldn't have changed anything about how she lived, she got tested every year. I think the tests we get for back problems don't always detect what's going on either, we just have to be persistant in taking care of our own health. My friend has had to do that even with her cancer treatment, the oncologist forgets to tell her things, she has to constantly be on top of everything.

I've also had problems with knots in my upper back from time to time, and I have wondered about the scoliosis playing a part in that. I've never had tests until very recently on my back, so all the info I have found out has been very new to me. I'm starting to look at things from different angles and trying to come up with questions to bring to the pain mgmt. doc on Friday.

Good luck, I hope you are able to find relief for your back pain soon! Thanks again.

 
Old 03-15-2005, 07:41 PM   #7
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Re: SI joint dysfunction

Hi. I just wanted to pop in and say hi to you and welcome you to the board. It sounds like you are well on your way to proper treatment and I hope it works for you. My SI joint dysfunction went undiagnosed for 6 years! Finally got to talk to my new pm about it and he almost immediately diagnosed it, tested and treated me successfully with radio frequency ablation. I was pain free for about 4 months, tho I am beginning to have some mild re-currence which is expected. Not quite this soon with most people, but there you have the "average" issue again!

Anyway, lots of good luck to you.

Carol
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2 lami's, 3 fusions
bone spur removal
cerv. fusion, 1 level
morphine pump

 
Old 03-16-2005, 11:05 AM   #8
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Re: SI joint dysfunction

Carol: I asked my doctor about that procedure after you posted it a few months ago and he said that as long as my ligaments were stretched, that procedure was a bandaid. What do you think? Do the nerves just find new pathways?

take care,

 
Old 03-16-2005, 02:40 PM   #9
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Re: SI joint dysfunction

Thanks for the welcome, Carol! I wrote down the radio frequency ablation on my list of things to discuss on Friday. I think the reason my SI dysfunction got dx so quickly is b/c I have an excellent PT. The doc really did nothing for me other than order tests. Is it normal for these guys to dictate their notes in FRONT of the patient before they even tell you what they found??? I thought that was VERY rude. He didn't explain ONE SINGLE THING. The PT was the one who helped me.

I hope the pain mgmt. doc is better than the ortho surgeon. However, I found out my parents went to him and they hated him. I think it was b/c he's a quiet type of personality, which I was already told by his assistant. At least I know that going in. It doesn't mean he's a bad doc. I don't know much about physiatrists. If anyone has any comments on how to tell if you have a good pain mgmt doc, please let me know!

I hope you continue to do well, Carol. It sounds like a good procedure.

 
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