Sacroiliac Joint Pain: Common Causes, Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Sacroiliac Joint Pain
Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

What is Sacroiliac Joint Pain?

Sacroiliac joint pain is caused as a result of the dysfunction of the sacroiliac joints. The sacroiliac joint is a thin joint which can be found at the junction of the spine and the pelvis. This joint is responsible for the transfer of load from the upper body to the lower body. There are many symptoms that characterize this condition.

  • Sacroiliac joint pain will be characterized by discomfort, a burning sensation, and pain in the region of the lower back and hips. The pain will also be experienced in the region of the thighs and groin.
  • A stiffness and burning sensation in the region of the pelvis can also be considered as a symptom of this condition.
  • The pain will worsen when you walk or stand and will go down when you are positioned at a single place.

There can be many reasons for the development of this pain.

What are the Causes of Sacroiliac Joint Pain?

  • This condition of sacroiliac joint pain often occurs due to an overuse of overloading of the joints.
  • Degeneration of the cartilage in the sacroiliac joints can lead to the bones rubbing against each other and degenerative osteoarthritis occurs. This can give rise to pain in the sacroiliac joints. This is one of the main reasons why pregnant women are prone to develop this condition.
  • A physical abnormality like difference in leg lengths can give rise to sacroiliac joint pain.
  • A trauma which is caused due to impact like landing hard on the buttocks can also lead to the development of sacroiliac joint pain.

Exercises & Stretches for Sacroiliac Joint Pain

Physical therapy can also be used to relieve pain in the SI region. There are various stretching and stabilizing exercises which can be performed to reduce* pain in the SI joint. The flexibility of these muscles can also be increased by performing physical therapy. These exercises strengthen the muscles around the region of the lower back You can also wear a sacroiliac belt around the SI joint to stabilize the joint and to reduce* the pain in the region. Pilates and yoga can also be used as a stabilization measure.

What Are the Treatments for Sacroiliac Joint Pain?

The treatment of sacroiliac joint pain can be done only after proper diagnosis of the disease is made. The diagnosis of the condition will include a complete physical examination by the physician and a revival of your entire medical history. The doctor will also conduct various tests to identify the source of the pain. These tests can include placing your legs and hips at certain particular positions and then applying pressure on them. This procedure which is known as the FABER test helps to compress and move the SI joints and thus you will be able to identify the source of the pain.

Following this, x-rays of the pelvic, hip, and spine are taken. The area to be X rayed will depend on the results of the physical examination. A CT scan, which gives a detailed image of the bones and joints are also used in the diagnosis. If the physician is not satisfied with the results of the CT, then a MRI will be conducted. This will help in the better evaluation of the soft tissues. A bone scan may also be done to identify bone abnormalities and to find out areas of increased activity in the bones.

The source of pain can also be identified by doing an injection that will numb the area of pain and irritation. Usually an anesthetic along with a steroid is used for injections. The injection is done directly to the SI joint. Along with finding the source of the pain, the injection can also be used to obtain temporary relief from pain. These injections are usually given in the hospitals under x ray guidance mechanisms.

Following the diagnosis, a proper treatment method for the condition can be devised. The primary method of treatment of sacroiliac joint pain is to avoid actins that lead to the development of pain. If the pain is not severe, then you can ice the region of your hips and lower buttocks for half an hour daily.

Sacroiliac joint pain can be treated by pain relief injections. The duration of effectiveness of the injection will vary. Depending on the severity of the pain, the injections can be repeated thrice a year or once a month. Oral anti inflammatory drugs can also be used to relieve pain. These drugs are suitable for long term use, in case he patient does not present with any problems. Oral steroids like prednisone can also be used as a short term treatment measure.

If all other methods of treatment fail, then one can consider surgery. Surgery involves the fusion of the SI joints. Here the cartilage which cover the surface of the bones and joints are removed and then the bones and joints are held together using screws and bolts until they fuse completely.

Long-Term Prognosis for Sacroiliac Joint Pain

By following the proper treatment methods, the condition of sacroiliac joint pain can be controlled to a great extent.

  • To prevent the occurrence of Sacroiliac joint pain, you need to maintain a healthy body weight. Less weight on the joints means less exertion of load on the tissues and cartilages.
  • For many people, the condition of Sacroiliac joint pain cannot be prevented. The condition occurs gradually with an increase* in age of a person. In such cases, you can only prevent the severity of the condition by proper treatment and by physical therapy sessions.

Expert’s Opinion

According to the experts at the US National Library of Medicine, sacroiliac joint pain is usually found to develop over a period of time and not in one or two days. Even though there are many OTC drugs available for pain relief, you should always consult a doctor before having them. Take care to follow the exact routine as suggested by your doctor without any deviations.

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Author

Expert Author : Kelly Everson (Consumer Health Digest)

Kelly Everson is an independent editor, an award-winning writer and an editorial consultant in the health and fitness industries. Currently, she is a contributing editor at Consumer Health Digest.