Sacroiliac or SI joint pain can bring you to your knees, especially if left untreated or ignored. The SI joints are incredibly important to the overall stability and function of the lower back, hips, and spine. However, they can wear down over time or get out of alignment. When this happens, the nerve endings located in the joints often communicate with the brain that something is wrong, which presents as pain in the body.
Learning the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for SI joint pain can help you understand why and find solutions that provide you with relief at the same time.
What is the SI Joint?
The right and left iliac bones connect the sacrum – that triangular-shaped bone located right below the lumbar region at the base of the spine. Not only do they connect the sacrum, but they are important stabilizers for the pelvis. They are held together by a series of ligaments and muscles, all of which must work together for the lower spine, pelvis, and hips to support us and help us move.
The SI joints are not as mobile as other joints in the body, such as the hip joints, for example, making them more susceptible to pain. SI joint pain is relatively common – and understandable, given these joints must support the body’s weight.
Common Causes of SI Joint Pain
As mentioned, the cause of sacroiliac joint pain is usually the regular wear and tear that comes with age and misalignment, but it may also be the result of joint inflammation. Whether due to a specific event, injury, or degeneration, it’s important to address the pain as soon as possible. Some of the other causes of SI joint pain include:
- Injury from a fall, motor vehicle accident, improper twisting, or pregnancy
- Lumbar spine surgery
- Slipped SI joint
- Gait issues
- Repeated activities that put stress on the SI joint
- A bulging disc
Symptoms of SI Joint Issues
Everyone experiences SI joint dysfunction differently, but some of the most common symptoms include:
- Low back pain
- Joint tenderness
- Joint swelling
- Pain in the buttocks, hips, pelvis, or groin
- Pain that increases when standing after sitting for an extended period
- Stiffness in the pelvis
- Pain that travels down one or both legs
- A sensation that your legs may buckle
Treating Sacroiliac Pain Naturally
Thankfully, there are numerous things you can do to treat SI joint pain naturally. We recommend starting with the nonsurgical treatment options before considering surgery, as these alternatives can be effective for many people:
- Physical therapy
- SI joint injections
- Yoga and other low-impact exercises that can strengthen and stabilize the SI joints
- Heat therapy
- Taking a warm bath
- Wearing a sacroiliac belt
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
The good news is that SI joint pain is often short-lived. It can appear “out of nowhere” due to pregnancy, injury, or even a strain that you didn’t realize you had. If your SI joint pain is caused by a structural issue or walking pattern, you may need to work with a physical therapist and orthopedist to find relief. In other instances, a little self-care and awareness can go a long way in treating the pain.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and would like to learn more about the treatment options for SI joint pain, please contact Ortho Spine of America today and schedule an appointment with Dr. Atwater.