Eighty percent of Americans will suffer back pain at some during their lives. For those with aching lower backs, the problem may actually be in the sacroiliac joint. Learn about a new procedure that could help some patients find relief.
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Reporter: When 66-year-old John Baxter says yard work like this used to be a pain in the butt, he’s not kidding. John Baxter: From both buttocks down both of the legs to my knees felt totally fatigued when you walk and that constant pain across my lower back, and extreme pain at time depending on what you were doing. It felt like a lot of pins and needles in your legs and a lot of numbness. Reporter: Heavy lifting at work three years ago injured his sacroiliac join or SIJ. Dr. Arnold Graham Smith: The sacroiliac joint is here, it’s where the pelvis joins the spinal column. Reporter: Spine surgeon Dr. Arnold Graham Smith says for patients with persistent pain even surgical options are rate. Dr. Arnold Graham Smith: Very few people are doing the major operation to open the joint up and pack it with bone chips. I'm one of those people who has done that. But for the great majority of people there has been no treatment available at all. Reporter: Dr. Arnold Graham Smith uses these porous triangular rods in a new procedure to fix the joint. A process called arthrodesis. Guided by live imaging he cuts three slots across the sacroiliac joint, then places the rods through the joint to stabilize it. Dr. Arnold Graham Smith: The procedure works because it stops the joint for moving. And it’s only movement which brings on the pain. Reporter: Three months after surgery, relief. John Baxter: My back pain is gone and the numbness down both legs is gone. Reporter: John has finally put his pain behind him and has a lot of work ahead of him. John Baxter: I'm thrilled to death! I'm thrilled!

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