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SI Joint – Where It Is and What It Does

The pelvis is at times referred to as the crossroad of human function. It is the connection between the upper and the lower extremity allowing for a smooth and efficient transfer of load such as in walking. It is also a place where power is generated. Such as when generating power in a golf swing or a swing of a baseball bat. And we need to also consider it as a place where force is transferred such as pitcher plants his foot into the pitchers mound and then this force is transferred up to his throwing arm.

So we have the pelvis a place of either force generating and force transferring is occurring but there are joints within this area that make up this part of the human body. We will look at the sacroiliac joint (SIJ) in particular in this blog. We will look at make up of the SIJ, common injures and symptoms, along with treatments commonly used to help patients with SIJ pain.

The SIJ location as mentioned earlier is within the pelvis of the body. There are two sacroiliac joints within the human body. They are made up of the sacrum, a triangular bone at the base of the spinal cord and the surfaces of each ilium. The SIJ is supported by very strong ligaments. This is very important because the SIJ needs to be both stable and mobile. Movements that occur at the SIJ joint is a gliding movement. Gliding is a movement of back and forth and side to side. Movement of SIJ is affected by strength of the ligaments, tension of muscles surrounding the area, along with the amount of hormones released in the body.

When it comes down to SIJ pain many consider that though the SIJ can refer pain in the surrounding area it is generally the ligaments surrounding the joint that refer pain and not the joint itself. Amongst 13% of patients that complain of low back pain are having pain surrounding the SIJ joint. This leads many practitioners to treat both the low back and SIJ when seeking treatments for SIJ pain. With that being said the low back is a very vulnerable area that is mostly affected in our sedentary lifestyles and it cannot be overlooked when treating patients with SIJ pain.

As mentioned earlier the SIJ is supported by ligaments that do refer pain into the region of the low back, buttocks, outer thigh, and at times down the thigh to just above the knee joint. Common misdiagnosed pain of SIJ pain is pain that is radiating down the leg into the foot. This pain is something different and is generally referred to as sciatica.

Symptoms or common sensation of pain that is described to a doctor or physical therapist can include: “dull aching pain near my low back”, “I feel like my hip is out or off balance when I walk”, “have pain to sit for a long time”, “I cannot stand on one leg while putting on my pants or shoes”, “weakness & tingling”, and “sleeping is hard to do when I lay on one side”. So when you have these sort of symptoms it generally points toward the SIJ joint.

If you are one that falls into the category of SIJ pain it is crucial that you take action to it. Treatment for SIJ is very effective especially when diagnosed properly by a skilled physician and or physical therapist. Physical therapist can through a thorough evaluation provide some quick easy tips to help alleviate your SIJ pain. Most often the hips are misalignment “off” which can be corrected by force energy techniques that can be done at home. Many times treatment of SIJ is treating the low back and posture awareness. This is again is due its close proximity to SIJ. Remember the SIJ falls within the pelvis of the body and it’s the crossroad network between lower and upper body. So posture strengthening and awareness is vital to treatment of SIJ pain. This gives one the advantage to reduce pain or eliminate pain by restoring optimal posture.

The sacroiliac joint is affected on a daily basis based on its orientation in our body. If you are feeling as your SIJ is giving you pain please contact us for a free consultation so one of our highly trained physical therapist can point you in the right direction

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