Sacroiliac (Si) Joint Pain
The critical linkage system between the pelvis and the lower spine is referred to as the Sacroiliac Joints (SIJ). The tailbone (sacrum) connects on the right and the left sides of the pelvic bones (ilia) to form the SI joints. These joints should form a fairly rigid/stiff link between the pelvic bones and should only allow a few degrees of movement. However these joints may sometimes experience excess uncontrolled motion mostly due to trauma or too much mobility. This may stress the joints which causes SI joint pain.
Abnormal movement of these joints (especially due to excessive movement or stiffness) is referred to as Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction and this often results in Si joint pain.
What causes Si joint pain?
SI joint pain may either start in the joint or in the surrounding nerves or ligaments. There are many factors that may cause this pain and they includes;
· Infection of the joint
· Joint inflammation
· Osteoarthritis of the joint( especially in older adults)
· Stress fractures especially in athletes
· Moving, bending, twisting in a manner that triggers SI joint pain
· Trauma e.g. after an accident
There are some risk factors that may increase one’s chances of developing Si joint pain and they include;
· Improper lifting
· Weak muscles
· Inflammatory conditions e.g. psoriatic arthritis
· Twisting or bending the back
Symptoms of SI joint pain
· Groin, hip or back pain
· Pain in the buttocks
· Stiffness of the lower spine
· Activities such as twisting, walking or bending may increase pain
· Pain radiating down the leg on the affected area
· Mid-severe low back pain etc
Diagnosing sacroiliac joint pain may not be easy. This is because, its symptoms may mimic other common back conditions such as facet joint syndrome among others. A physical examination is always done and another thing that may be helpful during the diagnosis is your medical history. Some of the tests that may be done include; a CT scan or X-rays and joint injections to determine if the pain originates from the joint.
This always depends on the cause of the pain and short-term rest is often advised. Some of the treatment options available include;
This may include;
· Application of ice into the painful region
· Exercises that strengthen the muscles supporting the area
· Exercises that stretch the lower back muscles
· Exercises that affect the movement of the sacroiliac joints
· Application of deep heat into the sore area
The common medications include;
· Prescribed pain relievers or pain relievers from over the counter stores e.g. ibrufen, acetaminophen etc
· Muscle relaxants
· Steroid injections into the SI joint etc
Some of the things that one can do to reduce the chances of developing the SI joint pain include;
· Maintaining good posture
· Regular exercise to strengthen the muscles
· Being cautious when lifting, bending, or playing sports
Exercise is very important for the general health of the body. It is however important to talk to your doctor (especially if you have some medical condition) who will advise you on the best exercise.