What is the Sacroiliac Joint?
The sacroiliac joint is the joint connecting the pelvis to the sacrum – a triangular bone comprising five fused vertebrae. The sacrum sits beneath the lumbar spine, but above the tailbone. The sacroiliac joint gets its name from this bone and the iliac bones crest, which is another name for the pelvis.
Normally, this joint is relatively sturdy. It needs to be, to do the work of carrying your upper body weight while upright, but it does allow for a small amount of movement for better shock absorption. However, when these bones move too much, or can’t move enough, this is called sacroiliac joint dysfunction (si joint dysfunction), and it’s a common cause of lower back pain.
The condition is often mistaken for a lumbar herniated disc, but the cause of the pain is much different. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction must be diagnosed accurately, and treated appropriately, in order to see an improvement in symptoms.
Sacroiliac Joint Pain Causes
Hypermobility in the sacroiliac joint occurs when the ligaments supporting the bone structure are too loose. An injury to the hip could lead to hypermobility, but there are many other possible causes as well.
Sacroiliac pain is also related to some types of arthritis, such as ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory process most often affecting the lower back, which may cause joint fusion. A too little movement, or hypomobility, is usually caused by damage to the joint, typically by arthritis or another joint disease. The cartilage that typically cushions and lubricates the joint wears down, resulting in stiffness and pain.
Hypomobility can lead to secondary joint problems as well, as the body tends to overcompensate for limited motion by limping or leaning. This can put excess strain on nearby joints, and cause pain in other areas.
Si joint dysfunction can occur with an injury, such as when a person falls and lands on one side of the body and alters the position of the joint, or when an athlete overtrains. Muscle imbalances and hip problems, such as hypermobility or dysplasia, may also lead to chronic si joint dysfunction.
TREATMENTS FOR SACROILIAC JOINT PAIN INCLUDE:
Sacroiliac joint pain during pregnancy
Si joint pain may also start if you’re pregnant. Pregnancy is another cause of hypermobility in this joint. Pregnancy triggers the release of a hormone called relaxin, which allows the ligaments to loosen up in order to make room for the baby.
Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of sacroiliac joint pain include:
- Low back pain.
- Dull or sharp lower back pain.
- Pain that radiates or migrates to the buttocks, groin, upper legs, or upper back.
- Pain triggered by standing.
- Pain climbing stairs
- Pain often experienced in only one side of the back.
- Pain subsides as the day wears on.
Sacroiliac Joint Treatment and Pain Relief
Accurate diagnosis is important to determine the source of pain. Physical therapy, stretching exercises, pain medication, and joint injections are used first to manage the symptoms. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce joint pain and improve your quality of life. Our team at Nuvo Spine has over ten years of experience in orthopedic pain management, specializing in innovative, non-surgical intervention, avoiding the necessity for surgical treatments.
Sacroiliac joint treatment options include:
- Physical therapy. Sacroiliac joint pain exercises can increase your strength and flexibility, and help you correct for limping or bad posture. Your physical therapist may incorporate heat, cold, stretching, massage, or ultrasound into your treatment.
- Cortisone injections. These can calm inflammation, providing rapid pain relief.
- Advanced neurostimulation. A device inserted near your spine interrupts pain signals to your brain, replacing them with harmless sensations.
- A2M (Alpha-2-Macroglubulin) injections. A2M is an advanced, nonsurgical treatment for osteoarthritis. The A2M protein binds to the enzymes that degrade cartilage cells, protecting joints from further damage and enabling natural healing.
- RFA. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a procedure used to reduce pain. An electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue, which decreases or stops pain signals from that specific area being transmitted to your brain.
If you’re suffering from sacroiliac joint pain, don’t wait any longer. Our medical professional clinics provide award-winning service and expert care, utilizing the latest advancements in nonsurgical orthopedic intervention. Make an appointment with a Nuvo Spine specialist today, and get back on the road towards a pain-free life.