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KHOU’s Great Day Houston Medical Monday Recap

I had a great time on KHOU’s Great Day Houston where Deborah Duncan hosted the Medical Monday segment. I was glad to be joined by Hormone Specialists Dr. Steven Hotze, Otolaryngologist Dr. Kevin Smith, and Interventional Radiologist Dr. Vasu Rao. Our roundtable discussion was about Medical Hot Topics. We discussed activity trackers such as the FitBit and their accuracy in reporting crucial medical information. Deborah mentioned that a New Jersey man’s life was saved due to the information from his FitBit. He had a seizure and was having an irregular and fast heartbeat. Fortunately, his doctors were able to look at his FitBit data to figure out what was happening.

I mentioned that as a spine surgeon, I want people to exercise and stay fit and these activity trackers help patients take responsibility for their own health. However, Dr. Rao emphasized these tools are not yet accurate enough to replace a physician’s clinical diagnosis, and the Fitbit and can be a double edge sword when it comes to consistency.

During my segment, I explained that Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Pain is one of the causes for pain that’s located on one side of the lower back pain and radiates through the hip and groin. The SI joint connects the spine to the hip bone or pelvis. Although the SI joint doesn’t have a large range of motion, it wears out over time and can damage joints, which causes pain. This SI pain can mimic the pain of a pinched nerve or disc herniation, making it hard to diagnose. According to author Walter Frontera, SI joint pain is reported to affect between 15% and 38% of the general population, with women being 3 or 4 times more likely to be affected than men.

Here are common symptoms of SI joint pain:

  • Pain located on one side of the lower back, radiating into the buttocks
  • Lower back and groin referred pain into the lower limbs (which can be mistaken for sciatica)
  • Difficulty turning over in bed
  • Struggling to put on shoes and socks
  • Leg pain when getting in and out of a car
  • Stiffness in the lower back when getting up after sitting for long periods
  • When getting out of bed
  • Aching on one side of lower back when driving long distances

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Since I have performed thousands of surgeries, I have a wealth of experience in identifying the specific sources of pain. I used a model to demonstrate where the SI joint is in our bodies. A complete SI joint replacement would be very invasive, so instead I perform a Joint Fusion procedure that only requires a small incision where a metallic device is placed across the joint to help stabilize and stop the pain. The fusion can be performed as an out-patient procedure and patients are able to walk normally within a few weeks.

If you’re having SI joint pain, contact Dr.Kushwaha. He’s a board certified Spine Surgeon. To learn more about his procedures or to schedule an appointment please call, (713) 587-6263 or visit

About Vivek Kushwaha

Vivek P. Kushwaha attended the University of Texas at Austin where he earned his B.A. from the College of Natural Sciences. He then earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical School at San Antonio, Texas.

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