Sacroiliac Pain

What are your sacroiliac joints

Your Sacroiliac joints are located where the sacrum and ilium meet. The sacrum is the triangle-shaped bone near the bottom of your spine, just above your coccyx, or tailbone.

The ilium, one of the three bones that make up your hip bones, is the uppermost point of your pelvis. The Sacroiliac joints support the weight of your body, distributing it across the pelvis. This acts as a shock absorber and reduces the pressure on your spine.

All of the bones in the SI joints are connected by muscles and extra-strong ligaments, which add stability and allow for limited movement. Though minimal, this movement is necessary for you to remain upright and for women to give birth.

 
What causes SI joint pain?

Inflammation of one or both SI joints is called sacroiliac joint dysfunction, or sacroiliitis. Sacroiliitis may be caused by SI joint dysfunction. This is a general term that encompasses a number of conditions, including the following.

1} Osteoarthritis

Years of stress on the SI joint can eventually wear down the cartilage and lead to osteoarthritis.

2} Ankylosing spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects the vertebrae and joints of the spine. In addition to causing pain, severe cases of AS can cause new bone growth that fuses the joints in the spine.

3} Gout

Gout, or gouty arthritis, can occur if your body has high levels of uric acid. This disease is characterized by joint pain, which can be severe. Although gout almost always affects the large toe first, all joints can be affected, including the SI joint.

4} Injury

SI joints can be injured by trauma, such as injuries resulting from falls and car accidents.

5} Pregnancy

Relaxin, a hormone released during pregnancy, makes the SI joints more elastic. This enables the pelvis to widen to accommodate the birth of a baby. It also makes the joints less stable. Combined with weight gain and the weight of the baby, this often leads to SI joint pain.

6} Walking patterns

Walking abnormally can cause SI joint dysfunction. You may walk abnormally because of issues like having one leg shorter than the other or favoring one leg because of pain.

 Symptoms Of SI Joint Pain

Each person experiences symptoms of SI joint disorders somewhat differently. Common symptoms include:

  • pain in the lower back
  • pain in the buttocks, hips, and pelvis
  • Increased pain in the groin
  • pain limited to just one of the SI joints
  • increased pain when standing up from a sitting position
  • stiffness or a burning sensation in the pelvis
  • numbness
  • weakness
  • pain radiating down into the thighs and upper legs
  • feeling like your legs may buckle and not support your body

Role of physical therapy, exercises and self-care

Physical therapy, low-impact exercise like yoga, and massage can help stabilize and strengthen the SI joints and ease pain. Another tip is to use cold packs to alleviate the pain. When the pain is more manageable, apply heat with a heating pad or heat wrap, or a soak in a warm bath. You can also wear a sacroiliac belt to help support the SI joint, which may help ease your pain.

Written By:
Phillis Iguta
Physiotherapist.
Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Health Centre

Causes Of Sacroiliac Pain

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