What on earth is a sacro-iliac joint I can almost hear you ask?
Well, the clue is in the name – it’s the joint that connects the sacrum at the base of the spine, to the ilium of the pelvis (hence sacro-iliac). It is essential in effectively distributing forces from the spine to the hips and lower limbs (and vice versa), but it can also be an often overlooked pain source in low back pain injuries.
The sacro-iliac joint (or SI joint for short) is normally a fantastically strong and stable joint, and can tolerate amazing amounts of downward force to create stability when we lift or move. This stability is largely generated by well-controlled contraction of the surrounding muscles and tissue creating “closure” of the joint. Problems arise when this balance isn’t adequate, the joint is not sufficiently stable, and tissues or cartilage become damaged as a result. This can be acute (sudden) or could be chronic (long term and recurring), but in all cases it tends to hurt quite a lot.
Pain originating from the sacro-iliac joint is often confusing as it can be mistaken for injuries to other structures. For example, acute SI joint pain can often refer to the buttocks and down the back of the leg mimicking sciatica or disc symptoms. It could also refer to the groin and anterior thigh, mimicking hip arthritis. Or it could simply radiate to the spine, mimicking a spinal joint issue.
Often with long term and recurrent problems, repeated flare-ups are caused by either too much movement (hypermobility) or too little movement (hypomobility) of the joint. Both can respond well to rehab and/or chiropractic adjustments and it is important to determine possible faulty or poor muscle activation around the pelvis, and improve these as necessary.
In all cases, it is vital to get checked out by a qualified and experienced spinal professional such as a chiropractor. We will assess and treat not only the painful symptoms, but also look to address the underlying causes.
Pure Health Chiropractic & Wellness (Stafford and Newport)