Sacroiliac joint (SI) pain is one of the more common causes of low back, hip, buttock and leg pain.
The sacroiliac joint sits between the sacrum and the iliac bone.
You can see these joints from the outside as two small dimples on each side of the lower back at the belt line.
The SI joint is one of the larger joints in the body.
The SI joint is held together by several large, very strong ligaments and is an attachment for many muscles found in our low back, hips and legs.
There are many different causes of SI joint pain.
Injury can occur during an automobile accident.
One common pattern of injury occurs when the driver of a vehicle places one foot on the brake before a collision.
The impact through the foot on the brake is transmitted to the pelvis causing a twisting motion to this side of the pelvis.
This can injure the SI joint on that side, resulting in pain.
A similar mechanism occurs with a fall on one buttock.
The force again causes a twisting motion to the pelvis and may injure the ligaments around the joint. Pregnancy may be a factor in the development of SI joint problems as well.
Also, if a person has one leg shorter than the other, the abnormal alignment may end up causing SI joint pain and problems.
The most common symptoms from SI joint dysfunction are low back and buttock pain. The pain may affect one side or both.
The pain can radiate down the leg all the way to the foot and may be confused with a herniated disc in the low back.
Problems with the SI joint may make sitting difficult.
Pain in one SI joint may cause a person to sit with that buttock tilted up. It is usually uncomfortable to sit flat in a chair.
X-rays are commonly ordered of both the low back and pelvis. X-rays can give your doctor an idea about how much wear and tear has occurred in the SI joint.
X-rays of the lumbar spine and hips are also helpful to rule out problems in these areas that may act and look like SI joint dysfunction.
When movement of a joint is limited, the pain and symptoms of SI joint dysfunction may worsen.
Getting more motion can give you the relief you need for daily activities.
If you don’t have full range of motion, a chiropractor has several ways to help you get more movement including joint manipulation, stretching and exercises.
Active movement and stretching as part of a home program can also help restore movement and get you better faster.
If the SI joint has too much mobility and problems keep coming back, you may need extra help to stabilize the SI joint.
You may be issued an SI belt to stabilize the joint. A belt like this can often ease pain enough to let you exercise comfortably.
In the chiropractor’s office, you’ll learn some exercises to help you build strength, muscle control and endurance in the muscles that attach around the SI joint.