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Instant relief
SI joint fusion aids in easing chronic back pain

By CRAIG McCARTHY

March 2016

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Clay Frank, who practices and performs procedures at the Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital, was introduced to sacroiliac (SI) joint pain during his spine surgery fellowship in North Carolina more than 20 years ago.

He believes that for the longest time this joint pain has been overlooked by spine surgeons and that a lot of people are suffering from lower back pain unnecessarily.

"Two or three generations of spine surgeons didnít know what was causing the common pain that a quarter of all lower back patients have," says Frank.

Fast-forward 20 years. Frank is now a champion of SI joint fusion, a minimally invasive and safe surgery that has an 80 percent success rate. For many, it brings instant pain relief after years of suffering.

Some of the most common causes of SI joint pain include lower back trauma, child-birth, prior spine fusion surgeries, or degenerative changes causing the joints to become arthritic.

Jen Christianson of Sussex knows what it means to suffer from lower back pain and SI dysfunction. In 2006, before even turning 30, she underwent lumbar fusion surgery. While that surgery relieved her pain and allowed her to stay active for several years, her pain returned in 2013, and it began robbing her of living her life and doing daily activities, including the ability to lift her 4-year-old daughter.

"It was such a debilitating pain," says Christianson.

After talking with her doctor, she was turned on to Frank and enrolled in a clinical study that allowed her to undergo SI joint fusion. She says since meeting Frank and undergoing treatment more than two years ago, her life has completely changed, and sheís now pain free.

"I feel like this whole journey for me has been a gift," says Christianson.

"Iíve been doing this 20 years, and Iíve never seen anything this powerful introduced into spine surgical care," adds Frank.

 







 


This story ran in the March 2016 issue of: