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What is Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Hip pain of senior woman at home, healthcare problem of senior conceptYour sacroiliac (SI) joint connects your hip bones (ilium) to the triangular bone at the bottom of your spine (sacrum). It helps absorb shock between your upper and lower body, such as when you jump. 

Because it is mostly a shock absorber, the SI joint usually doesn’t move much. Small motions absorb shock or help you bend forward or back. Lots of ligaments that surround the SI joint help keep it steady and limit motion.

But if your SI joint moves too much or too little, you can start experiencing symptoms of SI joint dysfunction that disrupt your day.

What Are Symptoms of SI Joint Dysfunction?

If your SI joint is moving too much, you may feel like your pelvis is unstable as you move. You may also begin to experience pain in your lower back or hip that can be severe. 

If your SI joint is moving too little, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Muscle tension
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Pain in one side of the buttock that may radiate down your leg

You may also experience inflammation in the joint which can cause additional pain. In both types of SI joint dysfunction, pain tends to get worse if you put weight on your pelvis by walking, climbing stairs, etc.

What Causes SI Joint Dysfunction?

SI joint dysfunction occurs when your SI joint moves too much or too little. Usually, something must occur that disrupts function, such as:

  • Irregular walking gait due to scoliosis or other conditions
  • Prior lower back surgery which may affect the ligaments in the joint
  • Repetitive motion like heavy lifting that strain the lower back
  • Trauma from a fall
  • Arthritis

The most common cause of SI joint dysfunction is pregnancy. During pregnancy, hormonal changes can cause ligaments to loosen while the baby puts extra weight on the pelvis. A combination of factors can lead to SI joint dysfunction that may start in pregnancy and continue even after the baby is born.

How is SI Joint Dysfunction Treated?

Fortunately, non-surgical treatments for SI joint dysfunction can restore function and relieve pain. Physical therapy, in combination with pain medicine or injections, can help you get moving again without pain.

Your physical therapist may use stretching, massage, manipulation and strengthening exercises to improve SI joint function. They may also recommend that you use a brace, especially during pregnancy, to help relieve pressure on the SI joint. By following your physical therapist’s instruction, you can help your SI joint get back to its former pain-free function.

At Bon Secours In Motion, we offer personalized care for SI joint dysfunction, no matter the cause. We also offer specialized care for pregnant and postpartum women, taking into consideration their special needs as they care for their baby. We work with all patients to find the right combination of treatments for their SI joint and lifestyle. 

Don’t live with SI joint dysfunction and pain; contact Bon Secours In Motion today to schedule your first appointment.