The sacroiliac joint is located at the bottom of the back and makes up part of the pelvis. The joint connects the hip bones (iliac crests) to the sacrum. The primary function of the joint is to absorb shock placed through the spine and legs. The joint is known to have little motion although small movements are what aid with shock absorption and forward and backward bending. The joint is enclosed within a number of very strong ligaments that aid with its role in providing stability. Due to large forces being placed through this area the SIJ joints are very stiff, with only a few degrees of movement this is normal and very important.
Pain associated to sacroiliac joint pain may vary in location. Most complaints of pain are local to the lower back and buttocks area although it can also cause symptoms in the legs, groin and on rare occasions in the feet.
Symptoms are provoked with:
- Stair climbing
- Shifting weight from one leg to the other
- Prolonged sitting
Causes of sacroiliac joint pain
Most common causes of sacroiliac joint pain are:
Underlying infection –on rare occasions infections can cause irritation to nerves and infection to the SIJ
Pregnancy – SIJ joint must able to adapt and move to accommodate childbirth the added weight during pregnancy can cause added stress on these joints causing painful symptoms.
Arthritis– wear and tear can also occur in the sacroiliac joints as can spondylitis (inflammation that affects the spine)
Traumatic injury – trauma to the lower back can cause damage to your sacroiliac joints. Motor accidents, falls or sporting accidents can all be a cause of sacroiliac joint pain.
Treatment and management of symptoms
The treatments for SIJ depends on what signs and symptoms you are presenting with.
Pain relief medications- although taking anti-inflammatory drugs will help to decrease your symptoms by reducing the swelling and numbing the sensation of pain, you should seek advice on a condition before taking medication. If over the counter medication doesn’t provide enough relief your doctor may prescribe you stronger drugs.
Muscle relaxants– other types of medication can also be useful in the reduction of pain with SIJ issues.
SIJ protection – the sacroiliac joint often requires stabilisation until the muscles are strong enough to control the joint through movement.
Over the counter– pain relief medication
Rest – the best possible way to speed up your recovery process is to avoid any activities that cause you pain to worsen. By doing so we can reduce the inflammation being caused in the area.
Alternate ice and heat application – applying ice and heat backs alternating between each several times a day will aid with the reduction of swelling and pain relief.