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Sacroiliac Joint Pain

Sacroiliac (SI) pain is also known as SI joint dysfunction, SI joint strain and SI joint syndrome.

Where are my Sacroiliac Joints ( S.I. joints)?

You have two sacroiliac joints. They are often characterised as two dimple like areas each side of the lower back. They are located above your gluteal muscles and to each side of the spine, between the sacrum and the back of each hip bone.
Each SI joint connects the ilia and the sacrum. It is a very strong joint with a very limited amount of motion. Most of the strength can be attributed to the large number of ligaments that cover each joint.

What do my sacroiliac joints do?

The SI joints help take the load of the head and spine from above the joint and also the load of the hips and legs beneath the spine when both sitting, standing and moving. They are responsible for linking your upper and lower body.
What is Sacroiliac pain?
SI joint pain is typically felt in the lower back and buttocks and often the pain and discomfort is located to the side of the spine / over the SI joint. In my experience it is most often only felt in one SI joint, it is very rare to have simultaneous SI joint pain. It can often be confused with lower back pain, disc pain and hip pain so it is important that a correct diagnosis of the cause of the pain is obtained.

What causes SI joint pain?


The most frequent cause of SI joint pain is that arising from musckulo-skeletal (MSK) origin. The bony aspect of the joint can become painful due to an injury, such as a lifting or twisting strain and degenerative changes such as arthritis. Both joint and ligament pain can also develop as a secondary problem due to an uneven or imbalance of the lower limb or pelvis. For example a knee or ankle injury or condition that causes you to adopt a compensatory gait, eg a limp, will potentially lead to irritation and pain of your SI joint and surrounding ligaments.

Pregnancy & childbirth:

Later stages of pregnancy can cause ligamentous irritation and joint pain due to the changes in spinal posture and loading. Pain may also develop after childbirth due to natural movements of the ilia, sacrum and SI joints during the birth.

Other causes:

Although less common there are other causes of pain in the SI joint and surrounding tissues. Autoimmune diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis (AS), Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis may also be linked with SI joint pain. You should always obtain a diagnosis of the cause of your pain from a qualified medical expert.


Sacroiliac pain and injury can be a painful and depressing injury. But the good news is that most cases heal and to help speed up the healing process, you could...

• Ice your SI joint to reduce pain and swelling as soon as you injure yourself. Do it for 15-20 minutes every 2 hours for the first 48 hours. You can also ice your back after physical activity as practiced by many professional sportsmen and women as a preventative form of injury treatment.

• Apply heat to your SI joint - but only after 2-3 days of icing it first. Use heat on your back only after the initial swelling has gone down.

• Take painkillers or other drugs, if recommended by your doctor.

• Use a sacroiliac support. Use it to help reduce pain and stiffness .

• Try to remain lightly active. Do not stay in bed or on the couch all day. Most studies show that light activity speeds your healing and your recovery.• Maintain a correct posture when standing and sitting; don't slouch.

• Osteopaths and chiropractors may be able to help with MSK causes of SI joint pain and should be able to diagnose the cause of your pain . If in any doubt see your doctor.”