Patients' Guide to Sacroiliac Joint Problems
SI-BONE® — iFuse Implant System®

Michele’s Back to Delighting with Desserts After Relieving Her Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Pain

"Thanks to my SI joint fusion, I got my active lifestyle back/ I am forever grateful for my amazing surgeon and his recommendation for this procedure."

My Journey
For the past 15 years, I’ve decorated cakes for a living. There’s a lot of manual labor involved in the work, and it’s how my journey with SI joint pain began. In February 2016, I was carrying a load of supplies and transferring cakes into the freezer. As I bent over to pick up a cake, I felt a sharp pain on the left side of my low back between my buttock and hip. I didn’t think much of it—I figured I tweaked a muscle and went home to take it easy the rest of the day.

The next day, it was clear this wasn’t ordinary pain. I had a hard time getting out of bed and walking. The pain got progressively worse, so I went to see my chiropractor. My chiropractor took x-rays, and performed manual manipulation and traction.

Unfortunately, those therapies made my pain even worse, so I made an appointment with my primary care physician. After giving me a physical examination, my doctor recommended I see an orthopaedic surgeon and provided a list of specialists in the area.

"I had to modify my sitting position in the car by using a donut.”"I had to modify my sitting position in the car by using a donut.”

I recognized one of the surgeons, as he had performed neck surgery on me previously. He reviewed my medical and surgical history, and performed a physical examination. Based on what he saw, he believed my pain originated in my tail bone (or coccyx).

My orthopaedic surgeon recommended conservative treatments at first, beginning with physical therapy for manual coccyx manipulation, stretching, and core strengthening. But, my pain didn’t respond to physical therapy—in fact, sitting and walking long distances became even harder to do.

Eventually, I had to take a leave of absence from cake decorating because of my pain. My orthopaedic surgeon then ordered an MRI to see if there were any abnormalities in my spine to get at the root of the problem, but the results came back normal.

My doctor then gave me a diagnostic SI joint injection to determine if the source of my pain was the SI joint—this is when things began to change for the better for me.

Following the SI joint injection, I could sit in the car on the ride home pain free. I then had a series of therapeutic SI joint injections, and they helped manage my pain. My orthopaedic surgeon, who was trained in the iFuse procedure, diagnosed me with SI joint disruption and recommended surgery for long-term pain relief.

In May 2016, I underwent an SI joint fusion on my left side with the iFuse Implant System®.

After surgery, I walked and didn’t have pain in my mid-buttock area—it felt more like a dull ache.

My doctor said I could walk with the help of a walker at home, as long as it was comfortable. Twelve weeks after my procedure, I returned to cake decorating twice a week for a few hours each day. Today, I’m decorating cakes 6 hours a day. I even have the energy to volunteer daily as a crossing guard at a local school, and I volunteer as a chamber of commerce ambassador.

Now that I don’t deal with SI joint pain every day, I have returned to the activities I love. I’m camping, walking, going on vacation, and spending time with my two Chihuahuas—and I’m so grateful.

This information is not intended to take the place of a doctor's advice. Please keep in mind that treatment and outcome results vary among patients. The iFuse Implant System® is intended for sacroiliac fusion for conditions including sacroiliac joint dysfunction that is a direct result of sacroiliac joint disruption and degenerative sacroiliitis. This includes conditions whose symptoms began during pregnancy or in the peripartum period and have persisted postpartum for more than 6 months. There are potential risks associated with the iFuse Implant System. It may not be appropriate for all patients and all patients may not benefit. For information about the risks, read the Important Safety Information.

Updated on: 06/13/17

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