On the previous pages we have discussed the neck, mid and lower back. Now we will discuss pain associated with the literal tail end of things – the area where the sacrum and ilium (tailbone and pelvic bones) meet–the sacroiliac joint (SI joint). The SI joint is made up of fibrous cartilage and is covered in ligamentous tissues that help to protect it. The sacroiliac joint allows the ilium to glide slightly across the sacrum on both sides.
Although the ilium bones don’t move a great deal around the sacrum, they provide shock absorption and comfort with these slight motions. The fibrous cartilage helps protect against bone on bone contact and bone degeneration. In addition to the ligamentous tissue around the sacroiliac joint, there are strong muscles that connect to joint as a support for movement. At In Motion O.C., this is a very common symptom for us to treat.
Discovering Sacroiliac Joint Pain
Due to the proximity to the lumbar spine, SI joint pain is very often confused with lower back pain. The sacroiliac joint can cause high levels of pain that can radiate down the buttocks and the side of the thigh.
People that experience this type of pain often find it difficult to get up in the morning or change positions from sitting to standing. Sleeping is often another complaint. The SI joint pain can be exacerbated by the particular positioning of the legs or due to pressure through the joint with weight bearing. We will go through the causes of pain in the sacroiliac joint and what you can do to ease your pain at home. Often, the pain in the sacroiliac joint requires physical therapy and medical intervention to reduce or manage this pain.
Common Causes of Sacroiliac Joint Pain
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction caused by inflammation of a sacroiliac joint. Inflammation can cause difficulty walking.
Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
Any abnormal motion in the sacroiliac joint, either too much motion or too little motion. It typically results in inflammation of the sacroiliac joint. Clients often benefit from physical therapy.
Blunt force or a jolt to the ilium causing an unpleasant compression to the joint that can create tearing or wear to the fibrocartilage of the joint.
Pregnancy and Hormones
During pregnancy, women excrete hormones into the body to help prepare for child birth. The pelvic bone expands a bit, and it is common for women at this time to experience pain from the instability present.
Osteoporosis or Arthritis
Any bone degeneration that happens as a result of old age or years of wear on the bones can affect the sacroiliac joint.
Often those affected by sacroiliac joint pain reduce their daily activity. This in turn can reduces muscle strength and make weight-bearing more difficult over time. Due to the pain at the joint, compensations may take place putting extra stress on other areas of the body. Also, people with previous back surgeries, such as lumbar fusions, are often affected by this condition due to the lower lumbar region rerouting forces from the fused bones to the sacroiliac joint.
We recommend that people with sacroiliac joint pain take a few steps at home to see if their pain reduces before going in for treatment. The more you know about your pain, the better diagnosis and pain management recommendations will come from your therapist.
If you require additional assistance to increase your mobility, correct your posture and reduce inflammation in the SI Joint, call In Motion O.C. today at 949.861.8600.
*This information about physical therapy for sacroiliac joint ailments was reviewed by Dr Natalie Thomas, PT, DPT. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us here.