Sacroiliac Joint Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

Sacroiliac (SI) joint injuries are some of the most painful and hardest to treat of car accident injuries. There are two sacroiliac joints between the sacrum (the lowest part of the spine) and the pelvis, one on each side. Each joint is connected by strong ligaments that allow the weight of a person’s upper body to be supported by their legs. The joints are only capable of very small movement.

Common causes of SI joint injuries include: auto accidents (especially rear-end collisions where the driver has his or her foot on the brake at the time of impact); falls; osteoarthritis; gout; pregnancy and childbirth; and lumbar spine surgeries.

Common symptoms from SI joint injuries include: lower back pain; pain in the hip; pain in the buttocks; thigh pain; groin pain; numbness; weakness; discomfort when sitting; increased pain when transitioning from a sitting to a standing position; and shooting pain into the leg. Sacroiliac joint pain following a car accident is often misdiagnosed as pain coming from the lumbar spine as the symptoms can be very similar. The radiation of shooting pain into the leg closely mimics sciatica that is typically caused by a herniated disc in the lumbar spine.

Treatment for SI joint pain includes: anti-inflammatory medications; physical therapy; chiropractic therapy; steroid injections into the joint; nerve ablations; the use of a brace; and surgery. Surgery for an SI joint injury usually involves fusing the joint by using titanium rods and bone grafts to prevent the joint from moving.

Our attorneys recently represented a woman with intractable lower back pain radiating into her right leg following a very high impact rear-end collision on Blanding Boulevard here in Jacksonville. Given the pain shooting into her leg, we were initially surprised to learn that her lumbar MRI showed that her lumbar intervertebral discs were essentially normal. Thankfully, an expert radiologist that we hired suggested we have an MRI arthrogram performed on her right SI joint.

An MRI arthrogram uses dye (also called “contrast”) injected into the SI joint. Then an MRI is taken. If dye has left the joint space, then the radiologist is able to determine that the SI joint has been ruptured and is leaking. In the case referenced above, the MRI arthogram results confirmed that she suffered a SI joint injury. Upon providing the results to her auto insurance company’s lawyer, the insurer paid her the full $100,000.00 in uninsured motorist benefits that she had purchased.

In addition to MRI arthrograms, injections can help diagnose SI joint injuries. A diagnostic injection places pain medication and steroids into the SI joint using flouroscopy (x-ray imaging) to make sure the joint is penetrated. If the patient reports a significant reduction of pain following the injection, a diagnosis of SI joint injury is supported.

If you have been involved in a vehicle accident and you have shooting pain into one of your legs, but your lumbar MRI shows no herniated discs, you may benefit from hiring a Jacksonville lawyer experienced in SI joint injury in auto accident cases. Our attorneys handle sacroiliac (S.I.) joint injuries resulting from car accidents in the greater Jacksonville Florida area including: Duval County; Jacksonville Beach; Clay County; St. Johns County; Nassau County; Baker County; Putnam County; Bradford County; Flagler County and Union County. Consultations are always free.

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