Can X-rays show sacroiliac joint dysfunction?

Thousands and thousands of people suffer from lower back pain. In the US, it’s a common complaint which can persist for several months or years. In most cases, much of what is believed as lower back pain is actually due to a sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Unfortunately, sacroiliac joint pain is one of the common causes of lower back pain, which is highly misdiagnosed.

SI joint dysfunction doesn’t usually show up on the imaging tests, such as X-ray, which makes it difficult to diagnose accurately.

Usually, the first step in diagnosis is a physical examination. During this, you will be asked about your medical history to determine whether you have any other underlying condition that could cause the pain. As part of this physical exam, your doctor will perform some simple tests to identify the source of pain.

Examples of these tests include:

  • Flexion Abduction External Rotation (FABER) test
  • Fortin finger test
  • Pelvic gaping test
  • Pelvic compression test
  • Sacral thrust test
  • Thigh thrust test
  • Gaenslen’s test
  • CAM impingement test
  • Rotation and extension tests

However, ruling out other causes of your back pain can be harder than you think. So, if your doctor is still not sure the cause of your pain, he/she will order additional tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, bone scans, and lab work.

When it comes to X-ray, your physician may order imaging results of pelvis, hips, and lumbar spine in order to determine the underlying cause of your pain.

If none of the tests show any sign of SI joint dysfunction, your doctor may utilize an SI joint infection to accurately diagnose your condition. If this injection alleviates the pain immediately, it is a sign that the SI joints are most likely the cause of your pain. This injection will be done with the help of an X-ray in order to ensure that it goes into the SI joints.