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.
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.