Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is a common cause of low back pain related to the sacroiliac joint where the sacrum, or base of the spine, meets the pelvis. Pain is often felt in the low back and buttocks and is caused by damage or injury to the joint between the spine and hip. Sacroiliac pain can mimic other conditions like a hip problem or herniated disc.
Sacroiliac Joint Pain
The SI joints are located between the iliac bones and the sacrum, which connects the spine to the hips. These joints play a large role in absorbing impact when walking and lifting as well as providing support and stability. As we age, our bones may become arthritic and ligaments can stiffen. As cartilage wears down, the bones may rub together, resulting in pain. The SI joint is a synovial joint filled with fluid, and this type of joint has free nerve endings that can cause chronic pain if the joint does not move properly or degenerates.
Signs and symptoms usually start in the lower back and buttock and may radiate to the lower hip, groin, or upper thigh. The pain can occur on both sides or just one side. Numbness or tingling in the leg or a feeling of weakness in the leg may occur. Climbing stairs, walking, standing, sitting, or sleeping can cause symptoms to worsen. Transitional movements like going from sitting to standing, standing on one leg, or climbing stairs can also worsen pain.
When the ligaments become too loose or too tight, the SI joint can become painful. This may occur due to a fall, vehicle accident, pregnancy and childbirth, work injury, or hip/spine surgery. Pain in the sacroiliac joint may also occur when movement in the pelvis is not the same on both sides, such as when one leg is longer or weaker than the other, or with arthritis in the hip, or knee problems.
How Can Physical Therapy Help?
Your physical therapist will guide you in terms of activity limitations or modifications to allow for reduction of inflammation and pain before progressing to improving joint mobility and mechanics, regaining normal muscle activation, and restoring strength for the core and hip muscles. They will also teach you proper and safe body mechanics and ergonomics to reduce the risk of reinjury. You will also be given a home exercise program to allow for optimal recovery.
Peak Physical Therapy
Our South Shore Physical Therapy practice specializes in physical therapy including many specialty programs including return-to-sports, vestibular, pelvic health, post-concussion, aquatics, and more. Locations include Norwell, MA, Scituate, MA, Quincy, MA, Hanover, MA, Pembroke, MA, and Braintree, MA. Our specialized programs combined with state-of-the-art facilities allow us to meet the unique needs of our local patients and achieve the fastest results. If you are unsure whether this type of treatment can help you, we offer a no-obligation FREE injury screening. Click here for more information.
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