13 Aug The Sacroiliac Joint
The sacroiliac (SI) joints are structural joints found on either side of the pelvis. They make up the junction between the sacrum (portion of the tailbone) and the ilium (pelvic bone). Due to their strong weight-bearing properties they are used to support the pelvis. The SI joints also act as shock absorbers and reduce pressure from the spine. These joints only allow for a small amount of movement which is vital for normal biomechanical functioning.
Inflammation of one or both of the joints is called sacroiliac joint dysfunction, or sacroiliitis. This is a general term that encompasses a number of conditions including osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and gout.
The common symptoms of sacroiliac joint pain are:
- lower back pain;
- pain in the buttocks, hips, pelvis and groin;
- isolated pain in just one the sacroiliac joints;
- increased pain when standing up from a sitting position;
- stiffness or a burning sensation in the pelvis;
- pain radiating down into the thighs and upper legs; and
- feeling like your legs may buckle and not support your body.
There are four main factors that may cause these symptoms. These are listed below.
- Trauma from direct impact to the joint, causing strain to the joints, damage to the ligaments around the joint, and irritation to the associated muscular structures.
- Imbalances such as a leg length discrepancy, or a mechanical issue of the hip, knee or ankle.
The pain can develop over time by adapting to an imbalance such as carrying your child on a specific side or carrying a work bag regularly on one side.
- During pregnancy the body releases a hormone known as Relaxin, which prepares the pelvic structures for giving birth. This can cause laxity of the ligaments surrounding the joint, which can result in the above-mentioned symptoms.
- Certain autoimmune conditions create increased levels of inflammation within the body. If the sacroiliac joints are affected, inflammation can negatively affect these joints and associated soft tissues.
The following tips can be used at home to help ease the pain:
- Initially, you can apply an ice pack directly on the joint area for a maximum of 5-10 minutes every 2-3 hours. Make sure that the ice is wrapped in a damp cloth. The ice will help to ease the inflammation and the symptoms that it causes.
- Avoid the application of heat as it increase the inflammation.
- Avoid sitting for long periods as it will excessively compress the sacroiliac joint.
If you have a desk-based job, take regular breaks and walk around to ease any intension in the joint(s). Also try to use a stand-up desk when working.
- In bed, lie on your unaffected side with a pillow or rolled up towel between your knees to r reduce pressure on the joint as you sleep.
Osteopathic treatment is aimed at easing the pain and reducing the inflammation that caused the pain. Techniques such as joint mobilisation, manipulation and soft tissue massage are used to increase the mobility of the sacroiliac joint and allow for normal joint functioning. These techniques can also be used to reduce the irritation of the surrounding muscles that commonly contribute to the symptoms. We also advise you on home exercises to aid in your recovery.
At OsteoVision, our team of specialists are always available to assist you and offer advice. Please contact us if you would like to discuss these symptoms, have any questions, would like to book an appointment or require more information about the sacroiliac joint or sacroiliac joint pain.
Lawton, S., 2020. Sacroiliac Joint Pain – Rugby Osteopathic & Sports Injury Centre. [online] Rugbyosteopaths.co.uk. Available at: <https://www.rugbyosteopaths.co.uk/blog/2020/02/sacroiliac-joint-pain> [Accessed 19 February 2022].
Morrison, W., 2018. SI Joint Pain: Causes, Treatment, and More. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/health/si-joint-pain> [Accessed 19 February 2022].