Sacroiliac Joint Pain: Causes and Treatment

What causes sacroiliac joint pain? What are the symptoms? Is it a serious situation? Do you need to see a doctor? Is medical treatment necessary? How is it treated? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below. 

What is sacroiliac joint pain?

Sacroiliac joint pain is a type of joint pain felt in the lower back and hips that can be severe . Pain is caused by damage or injury to the joint between the spine and hip. Sacroiliac joint pain can mimic other conditions such as a herniated disc or hip problem. Accurate diagnosis is important to identify the source of the pain. Physical therapy, stretching exercises, pain medications, and joint injections are used first to manage symptoms. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to fuse the joint and stop painful movement.

Sacroiliac joint pain: What you need to know

Sacroiliac joints are made up of very strong ligaments that do not allow the joints to move much. This is important because the sacroiliac joints are for stability. They connect the spine and pelvis, transfer weight from the upper body to the lower body, and act as shock absorbers. Pain can occur if the joint becomes too mobile, moves too little, starts to degenerate, or becomes inflamed. Other names for sacroiliac joint pain include sacroiliac joint dysfunction, sacroiliac joint syndrome, sacroiliac joint strain, or sacroiliac joint inflammation (sacroiliitis) .

The site of sacroiliac joint pain is usually the lower back. However, people may also feel pain in the lower back, including the hips and legs. Sacroiliac joint pain can range from mild to severe, depending on the underlying cause. It can also be an acute problem that gets better within a few weeks, or a chronic problem that gets progressively worse. It is common to experience other symptoms besides pain, such as numbness and tingling.

Many people are affected by sacroiliac joint problems without realizing it. Common causes of sacroiliac joint pain include pregnancy, injury, and arthritis. You have a higher risk of developing pain related to these joints if you have a history of pelvic injury, previous surgery to the lumbar spine, or uneven leg lengths.

If you suddenly feel low back pain, sudden weakness, numbness or tingling in the hips or legs, seek medical attention. A high fever along with low back pain is another reason to seek medical attention. Left untreated, sacroiliac joint problems can become chronic, leading to disability, depression and sleep problems.

Sacroiliac joint pain: Causes

Sacroiliac joint pain can result from too much or too little movement in any one sacroiliac joint, or from uneven movement between the two sacroiliac joints. There are several acute and chronic problems that can cause this, these include:

  • Autoimmune diseases such as axial spondyloarthritis ( also known as ankylosing spondylitis )
  • Pelviste biyomechanic asymmetry
  • Degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis
  • Injuries and trauma, such as strong blows during sports or from falls
  • muscle tension
  • Problems in the lumbar spine overcompensated by the sacroiliac joint
  • Sacroiliitis, which is inflammation of one or both sacroiliac joints
  • Stretching of ligaments during pregnancy

Risk factors

A number of factors increase your risk of developing sacroiliac joint pain, such as:

  • Aging, obesity, and other factors that increase the risk of joint degeneration
  • History of pelvic injuries or lumbar spine surgery, such as lumbar fusion or laminectomy
  • playing contact sports or sports that involve a risk of falling
  • Having similar problems in family members before (genetic predisposition)
  • Pregnancy
  • Irregular leg length
  • Walking on one leg for long periods of time, such as after surgery or injury
  • wearing unhealthy shoes
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Reducing your risk

There are several strategies you can employ to keep your joints and spine healthy, including the sacroiliac joints:

  • doing regular physical exercise to strengthen your body
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • Applying stress management techniques
  • stretching your muscles to avoid tension in the area
  • Using proper lifting techniques and maintaining proper posture
  • wearing supportive shoes that fit properly

You can talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your risk of sacroiliac joint problems. In this way, it will be good for you to learn what changes you can make to protect your spine and hips.

Sacroiliac joint pain: Symptoms

It is wise to contact your doctor if you have low back pain or other symptoms that persist or worsen despite home remedies. It is also recommended that you seek immediate medical attention if you develop sudden lower back pain accompanied by fever or weakness, numbness or tingling. When you have a significant trauma involving the lower back or hips, a doctor’s control is still essential.

Sacroiliac joint pain typically affects the lower back. Pain may also radiate to the hips, groin, thighs, legs, and feet. In most cases, the pain affects one side of the back or one leg, but it can affect both sides. Certain activities and positions, especially sleeping on the affected side and activities such as sitting, standing or walking for long periods of time, can worsen the pain. Transition movements, such as getting up from a sitting position, can also be difficult.

Common symptoms of sacroiliac joint pain

Pain is the most common symptom of a sacroiliac joint problem. The pain can be sharp and severe or dull and aching. In most cases, it develops over a long period of time. Along with pain, other common symptoms of sacroiliac joint dysfunction include:

  • Difficulty sleeping or interrupted sleep
  • Leg weakness or imbalance
  • Numbness
  • tingling or pins and needles sensation
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Sacroiliac joint pain: Treatment

Treating sacroiliac joint pain depends on the underlying cause and how severe it is. In most cases, treatment begins with home remedies. This includes resting, applying ice or heat, and over-the -counter medications such as ibuprofen . Massaging the area is another home remedy that can reduce pain.

Physical therapy can also help with pain. A physical therapist can teach you specific sacroiliac joint pain exercises, including stretching exercises. You can also learn how to strengthen your core muscles and how to move and lift objects to protect the area. Sometimes physical therapists recommend braces to support the sacroiliac joints when they are too loose.

If conservative treatments fail or the pain is affecting the person too much, joint injections, nerve blocks or surgical options may be preferred. Joint injections involve using corticosteroids up to four times a year to control inflammation in the joint. Nerve blocks stop pain signals. If nerve blocks are successful, you may be a candidate for nerve ablation to destroy the pain-signaling nerve. Surgery is usually the last resort. The aim of surgery is to relieve pain as much as possible and stabilize the spine. It usually involves the insertion of rods to stabilize the joint and encourage bone growth around the rods.

Sacroiliac joint pain: Complications

Sacroiliac joint pain usually responds to home treatment. However, not getting timely treatment can lead to chronic pain and disability. Without treatment, people can develop chronic pain, depression, and sleep problems. The best way to prevent complications from sacroiliac joint dysfunction is to see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Because sacroiliac joint dysfunction can be similar to many other low back problems, it’s important to see an experienced spine specialist.

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