Updated: Nov 13
Sacroiliac Joint Pain
The two sacroiliac joints (SI), left and right, link the lower spine (the sacrum) and part of the pelvis (the ilium). Supporting and providing stability to the upper body, along with absorbing impact whilst walking, is the prime function of the SI joints. As the pain in SI joints can have similar symptoms to other conditions, an accurate diagnosis can be difficult.
There are many different causes of SI pain; however, it tends to arise when the ligaments supporting the SI joints have become too tight or too loose. This usually occurs during ageing as the cartilage wears down and the bones begin to rub against each other, causing discomfort. This cause of pain is known as arthritis.
Other causes of SI pain can be pregnancy and injury. Muscles and joints relax in pregnancy in anticipation of childbirth; this added movement results in stress on the SI joints, leading to pain. Injuries are also common in causing SI joint pain.
Common symptoms of SI joint pain are:
- Pain in the lower back
- Pain in the glutes
- Difficulty walking
- Trouble sleeping
- Irregular sleeping patterns, due to pain
If individuals suffer from any of these symptoms, an accurate diagnosis of SI joint pain can be identified by a doctor through consultation. In this process, a full medical history of the individual is investigated in addition to a physical exam.
Furthermore, scans such as an MRI, CT or X-ray may be done giving the doctor a clear image of the SI joints.
The aim of treatment for SI joint pain is to alleviate pain with the priority of restoring full motion to the joint. There are a wealth of options available to you such as:
There is a range of physiotherapy exercises which can help SI joint pain. Reducing tension in the muscles around the SI joints decreases pressure. There are stretches which individuals can do at home to aid pain.
Chiropractic treatment depends greatly on the individual and how they respond to different treatments. It can be very successful for the SI joint, relieving pain and regaining function.
A popular means of treatment, SI joint injections contain a local anaesthetic with a steroid. It sometimes takes two or three days for the steroid injection to start working.
The most common surgery for SI joint pain is sacroiliac joint fusion. This involves the implantation of rods and screws across the joint, decreasing pain and encouraging bone growth.
This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.