After my last big setback in sacroiliac joint dysfunction, it was time to see the doctor and re-evaluate the situation. Physical therapy wasn’t helping (like it did the first time) in restoring motion and a pain-free lifestyle. I was suffering and I needed answers.
Here’s the thing about buttock pain. Most doctors will start by checking the back for lumbar radiculopathy. This basically means they are looking to see if a disc in the lumbar spine is bulging or herniated, thereby compressing the sciatic nerve and causing pain. This makes sense, because lumbar radiculopathy is the most common cause of sciatica in the general population. However, for someone like me, I felt frustrated because I knew that it wasn’t my back. I knew it wasn’t my spine. I had ZERO symptoms in my back.
However, go with the flow I did. I had an MRI of the lumbar spine. All normal. The discs were all intact and in proper alignment. There was a note of some endplate changes. I’m still not too sure about what that means or what that entails. However, I was reassured by multiple orthopedic doctors that it wasn’t a significant finding. It just means that my spine was under some type of stress at one point. Maybe it was during my pregnancy, I was told.
So it was great to hear that my lumbar spine was fine, but it was $500 down the drain (I have a high-deductible health plan). On to the next step. Let’s take a look at that pelvis! I had a feeling this would show something… and it did!
The MRI of my pelvis showed bilateral sacroiliitis (inflammation of both sacroiliac joints). Aha! The physical therapist was right, after all.
When I went back to the doctor to discuss the findings of the MRI, my usual ortho wound up having to leave for an emergency. I saw his partner. At the time, I was soooo mad. I was so anxious to discuss the MRI and I believed that the first guy was an expert in the field. The receptionist actually told me that it was the second guy that was more experienced with SI joint issues. I said, “What the hell! I’m already here. Ok, let me see whoever’s available.” It was the biggest stroke of luck at the time.
The second orthopedic doctor was in fact an expert in sacroiliac joint dysfunction and gave me a recommendation that literally changed my life at the time. Tune in next time to see what he recommended.
To see the next post in this series, and to see all posts in this category, please click here. If you’re dealing with SIJD, please share your experiences in the Comments section below.
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