What is sacroiliac joint pain?
Pain in the sacroiliac (SI) joint can be quite uncomfortable and can affect your ability to perform daily activities. The SI joint is the connection between the spine and the pelvis, specifically connecting the hip bones to the sacrum.
It is essential for load transfer between the spine and lower extremity (shock absorber and torque converter). Due to the wear and tear this joint goes through, dysfunction can lead to several symptoms.
SI joint pain can be difficult to distinguish from low back pain, so it is important to be assessed by a physiotherapist to determine where your pain is coming from.
Approximately 90% of the population will at some experience or present to the clinic with some form of low back pain/pathology. About 10% to 25% of these patients are thought to be experiencing pain from the SI joint (Physiopedia).
The SI joint is a stable joint supported by large ligaments and some of the strongest muscles in the body. One of the most common causes of SI issues is trauma, causing strain to ligaments around the joint.
Pain can arise due to the abnormality of the sacrum bone, degenerative changes, osteoarthritis, or increased laxity of the ligaments due to pregnancy.
Symptoms of SI Joint Dysfunction
When SI joint issues arise, you will typically notice it in daily activities such as sitting, laying down, climbing stairs, etc.
Symptoms of SI joint dysfunction include:
Low back pain
Pain directly along the SI joint
Pain with bending
Pain along buttocks
Radiating pain into the lower extremity
Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation
Physiotherapy always involves a detailed patient history, which is a major part of making the correct diagnosis. Injuries to the SI joint can mimic low back pain, so an assessment is important in determining the cause of the pain.
Physiotherapists use a variety of provocation tests to determine if pain is caused by certain movements. If an SI joint dysfunction is determined, warmup, mobility, and strengthening exercises are all important parts of rehabilitation.
Some exercises include:
Knees side to side - 3 x 10 second hold each side
Child’s pose - 3 x 30 second hold
Rolling gluteals - 30 seconds each side
Bird dog - 3 x 5 per side
Dead bug - 3 x 5 per side
Glute bridge - 3 x 7 reps
Single leg dips w/ abduction - 3 x 7
If you notice pain in your lower back or SI joint, be sure to contact a physiotherapist to assess your pain. With a detailed assessment, we can determine the cause of your pain. Got questions? We are always here to help! Email or book in with one of our physiotherapists.