The sacroiliac joint (SI) is comprised of the hip bones (iliac crests) and the sacrum. The primary action of the sacroiliac joint is to absorb shock between the upper body, pelvis and legs.
While most joints are very mobile, the sacroiliac joint typically has little movement – only small movements occur in the joint to help with shock absorption and forward/backward bending. The joint is strongly reinforced by ligaments surrounding it. This network of soft tissues provides structure, limits movement, and assists with absorbing pressure.
There are a variety of different terms for sacroiliac joint, such as SI joint dysfunction, sacroiliac joint disease, SI joint syndrome, SI joint strain, and SI joint inflammation. Each of these terms refers to a condition that causes pain in the SI joints from a specific cause.
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can be difficult to differentiate from pain caused by a lumbar disc herniation (sciatica) as they can feel quite similar. The use of orthopedic testing is important to rule out other factors and treatment results.
What Causes Sacroiliac Joint Pain?
- The most common cause of sacroiliac joint pain is pelvic imbalances. Pelvic imbalances changes stress patterns in normal activities like walking.
- Aggravation of the sacroiliac joint can commonly result in inflammation, also called sacroiliitis. This condition may be the primary cause of pain, stiffness, and other symptoms.
- Pelvis imbalances can create muscle tension in piriformis, gluteus maximus and hamstrings (these muscles attach to the pelvis), which increase the mechanical stress on the joint.
- Arthritis and spondylitis.
Symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Pain:
- Lower back pain that feels dull, aching. Can be felt only on one side, but in some cases may be felt on both sides.
- Pain that spreads to the hips, buttocks, and/or groin.
- Sciatic-like pain in the buttocks and/or backs of the thighs. Rarely extends below the knee.
- Stiffness and reduced range-of-motion in the lower back, hips, pelvis, and groin.
- Possible difficulty with movements such as walking upstairs or bending at the waist.
- A feeling of instability, buckling or giving away in the pelvis and/or lower back when standing, walking, or moving from standing to sitting.
- Pain can be described as a sensation that your hip feels as if it in not connected properly – a disjointed feeling.
I approach treating your sacroiliac joint condition to your presentation, which involves:
- Analyzing your posture – is the spine and hips aligned?
- Discussing potential lifestyle dynamics impacting the joint.
- Understanding how other factors such as arthritis can aggravate the problem.
- Muscle testing the muscles comprising the hip for weakness and pain.
- Targeting effected muscles, releasing motor points, trigger points and relaxing the fascia
Providing exercises to continue treatment success between acupuncture treatments.
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