Pain from a dysfunction of the sacroiliac joint is often the cause of back, hip, and lower limb pain and can sometimes mimic a variety of conditions, making it difficult to diagnose.The pain of sacroiliac joint dysfunction may range from a dull ache to a sharp or burning sensation. Depending on the severity of the condition, the pain can be experienced in different areas of the body. It may be localized to the joint itself or radiate to areas such as the lower back, buttocks, groin, upper legs and feet. Symptoms may also include sudden pain while climbing stairs, difficulty sitting or standing, pain in one buttock, sciatica-like discomfort, or numbness or tingling in the legs. Muscle spasms, fatigue and instability may also occur.
The cause of Sacroiliac joint referred pain is complex and not fully understood. Generally, it is believed to be a result of inflammation of the joint, as well as misalignment of the bones within the joint. Hormone changes and muscle imbalances can also contribute to this inflammation and misalignment. Additionally, an injury or trauma to the area can be a source of the pain. In some cases, poor posture, extensive periods of sitting or standing, and even poor sleeping habits can also lead to Sacroiliac joint referred pain. Ultimately, any activity or condition that causes the joint to move too much or too little can cause this discomfort.
Diagnosing sacroiliac joint referred pain patterns can be tricky as the symptoms of the pain can be similar to other pain patterns such as that of the lumbar spine. Symptoms of this type of referred pain can include pain in the lower back, leg, hip, and buttocks that can worsen with movement and weight-bearing activities. To make an accurate diagnosis of sacroiliac joint referred pain, a physician will perform a physical exam including testing the range of motion of the hip, as well as any tenderness or pain in the lower back. Additionally, imaging tests such as an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan may be ordered to help diagnose the source of the symptoms. In some cases, a Sacroiliac Joint steroid injection may be used to help determine if the SI joint is the source of the pain. If the injection improves symptoms, it is likely that the SI joint is the cause of the pain.
Treating pain associated with the sacroiliac joint can be tricky, as the causes can be diverse and hard to identify. As with many other musculoskeletal pain conditions, the goal of treatment is not necessarily to “cure” the condition, but rather to reduce the pain and improve overall function. Treatment typically begins with conservative methods such as activity modification, physical therapy, and medications. If these treatments do not provide sufficient relief, sacroiliac joint injections, or intra-articular injections, may be recommended. Injections can provide short-term pain relief and help to identify the source of the pain. If conservative treatments are unsuccessful, surgery may be recommended. Surgery to stabilize the joint can bring long-term relief and improved quality of life.
When it comes to sacroiliac joint pain, prevention is key to avoiding serious, long-term issues. Taking steps to maintain joint health and proper posture is important for avoiding pain. Here are 5 tips for maintaining healthy sacroiliac joints:
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle – eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly can help to keep your body and joints healthy.
- Practice proper posture – sitting and standing in an upright position can help to reduce strain on the sacroiliac joints.
- Avoid activities that strain the sacroiliac joint – activities like running and jumping can increase pressure on the joint and should be avoided.
- Wear supportive footwear – wearing shoes that offer proper support can help to reduce strain on the sacroiliac joint.
- See a doctor if pain persists – if pain in the sacroiliac joint persists despite following preventive measures, see a doctor for evaluation and treatment.
The sacroiliac joint is a complex and often overlooked joint in the human body. It is a common cause of chronic low back pain and can be easily diagnosed by a qualified healthcare provider. Referred pain patterns from the sacroiliac joint can be difficult to pinpoint and distinguish from other sources of back pain. Understanding the locations where referred pain from the sacroiliac joint is felt can help healthcare providers provide the most effective treatment to reduce pain and improve mobility. With the right diagnosis and treatment options, many people can experience significant relief from sacroiliac joint pain and regain mobility and quality of life.