Is Your Low Back Pain Caused By Your Sacroiliac Joint?

Back pain causes can be difficult to diagnose without specialist knowledge. How do you know if it’s your discs, your muscles, your hips or sacroiliac joints? Inflammation or dysfunction of the sacroiliac (SI) joints produces symptoms that mimic many other back problems.

The SI joints are in the pelvis and located where the sacrum joins the ilia (that’s where the triangular bone at the base of the lumbar vertebrae joins the large broad bones which form the upper part of the pelvis). 

These joints bear a lot of weight, providing stability and distributing the load of the upper body to the legs. That means they’re essential for walking, turning and bending, and rich in interconnecting muscles, ligaments and nerves. But pain caused here can share symptoms with a number of other back issues.

Recognising Sacroiliac Joint Pain

You might feel pain down the legs, in the buttocks or radiating as a dull ache over the lower back but typically sacroiliac joint dysfunction causes pain on one side of the thigh, spreading into the groin or buttocks. The pain can be mistaken for sciatic nerve pain because it may involve stabbing, tingling or numbing sensations down one leg. You’ll feel stiff, which will affect the range of movement you can comfortably achieve. Another indicator would be worsening of the pain when pressure is put on the joints by climbing stairs, jogging or even lying on one side. You may feel as though the hip is unstable and likely to buckle when you stand up or walk about. All these symptoms look rather similar to the discomforts caused by other common back issues. So how do Sundial chiropractors track down the cause of your pain?

Common Causes of Sacroiliac Joint Problems

These are some of the pre-existing conditions which point to a SI joint problem.

  • If you’re pregnant, the hormone Relaxin’s job is to make the ligaments and muscles stretch further than usual, therefore affecting all joints. For some women, the loose ligaments in this area continue to cause joint instability after pregnancy.
  • Having a difference in leg length can cause uneven pressure on one side of the pelvis when walking, so you will tend to strain the SI joint. This will cause wear and tear and put you at risk of developing painful issues.
  • Contact sports, heavy lifting or repetitive work-related twisting movements can cause SI joint syndrome.
  • Prolonged sitting, causing weak muscles, will also affect your hips.

How Chiropractors Can Help SI Pain

Your chiropractor will always start by taking a careful history and doing a thorough examination. Once they’ve identified the issue, they will be able to decide how best to help you. If your problem is caused by lack of movement (such as a locked joint caused by prolonged sitting), the goal of therapy is to restore your range of motion by loosening joint locking and muscle tension. We use a combination of sacroiliac joint manipulation and gentle, no-click chiropractic with an instrument (No-Click Chiropractic Impulse IQ Instrument) to get things working again.

You’ll be advised on how best to alleviate the pain (perhaps hot or cold treatment or over-the-counter medication) and you’ll also be given a personal exercise plan to strengthen supporting muscles. Stretching exercises will help to reduce muscular tension in the area – you could try some of these at home:

And of course come and see us to find out exactly what’s causing that hip and back stiffness. Click the ‘Book Now’ button for a consultation.