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- Sacroiliac Joint Discomfort (SI Joint Pain)
Sacroiliac Joint DiscomfortThe sacroiliac joint, also known as the SI joint, connects the bottom of your spinal cord with the pelvis. It is located in the lower back. This joint allows us to twist our torso while moving our legs. The SI joint acts as a shock absorber for your body, which means it undergoes a lot of pressure. When we have pain in this area, it is known as sacroiliac joint discomfort. It is also often called SI joint pain or sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
Causes of Sacroiliac Joint DiscomfortSI joint pain can be caused by a number of different things. Here are the most common:
Age - As time goes on, the cartilage in the SI joint begins to wear away. As the cartilage thins out, the bones in the SI joint may begin to rub against each other, causing pain. This is also known as osteoarthritis, which is common in weight-bearing joints of the body.
Traumatic Injury - Sudden impact or injury to the joint, usually from sports, can cause sacroiliac joint discomfort. A hard fall on the buttocks can also jolt the SI joint, causing pain.
Pregnancy - During pregnancy, hormones are released into the woman's body, which relaxes the ligaments in the body. This helps prepare the body for childbirth, but it also relaxes the ligaments that hold the SI joint in place. This can lead to stress and discomfort in the SI joint.
Other Disorders - Certain conditions can cause inflammation in the SI joint. Such disorders include gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
Sacroiliac Joint Injury SymptomsThe most common symptom of an SI joint injury is pain in the lower back and hips. This pain may also be felt in the groin, buttocks, and thighs. It can range from a dull ache to a sharp pain. The pain may also get worse while standing and moving around. It may also improve when lying down because there is less pressure on the SI joint. Some patients also experience stiffness and tenderness.
Sometimes patients misdiagnose SI joint dysfunction as sciatica. Be sure to check with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis of your lower back pain. Your physician will perform a physical examination and ask you questions about your medical history and lifestyle. Imaging tests such as X-ray and MRI may also be used.
Treatment for Sacroiliac Joint DiscomfortAs with any injury, your doctor will be the best source of advice on the appropriate treatment method for your situation. SI joint pain treatment often starts with rest from activities that increase pain. The use of cold therapy is often used at the beginning of SI joint dysfunction to help numb away pain and reduce inflammation. We recommend the Aircast Back Cryo/Cuff with Cooler for extended cryotherapy and compression. Your doctor may also recommend anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
After inflammation has gone away, heat therapy can be applied which helps relax the muscles. Physical therapy is also very helpful in stretching and strengthening the area, which helps stabilize the SI joint and reduces pain. Sometimes yoga and Pilates may be recommended, or even a sports massage.
Some patients find relief from SI joint pain by wearing a sacroiliac back belt that wraps around the hips and provides support to the SI joints. We recommend the DonJoy SI Belt because it allows you to customize the amount of tension it provides.
If conservative treatments do not work, your doctor may recommend steroid injections into the SI joint, which will provide pain relief. Surgery for SI joint dysfunction can also be done, where the doctor will fuse the SI joints. The surgery helps minimize motion at the SI joint, which usually eliminates pain.