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Understanding Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction and Pain

Understanding Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction and Pain

Our video walk-through can help you visualize sacroiliac joint dysfunction and the associated symptoms:

Sacroiliac joints connect your hip bones to the sacrum at the very bottom of your spine. These joints are designed to provide a great deal of strength and stability.

Your SI joints work hard throughout the day to enable and coordinate the transfer of weight from your upper body to your lower body.

Additionally, sacroiliac joints are designed to allow a minimal amount of movement, and are reinforced with an interconnected network of strong ligaments and tendons.

You may develop sacroiliac joint dysfunction if your joint(s) move either too much or too little.

Amongst other causes, pregnancy or injury to your ligaments can lead to hypermobility (or too much movement).

See Types of Back Pain in Pregnancy

Too little movement in your joints (referred to as hypomobility) can also cause pain. Hypomobility may occur as a result of a degenerative joint disease such as arthritis.

Read more about Osteoarthritis of the Spine

Another cause of sacroiliac joint pain is when your joints overcompensate for problems in nearby joints. For example, it is possible for someone who has undergone lumbar spinal fusion surgery to develop sacroiliac joint pain due to reduced motion in the fused lumbar spine segments.

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction may result in pain in your lower back and/or buttocks. Pain may also radiate down one or both legs, or spread to your surrounding muscles that can spasm in response to joint dysfunction.

See Leg Pain and Numbness: What Might These Symptoms Mean?

The symptoms of SI joint dysfunction can mimic many other causes of lower back pain, such as a lumbar herniated disc, osteoarthritis, or lumbar degenerative disc disease.

As a general rule, treatments for SI joint pain are usually conservative in nature. The primary goal of such treatments is to restore normal motion in your joint(s).

If SI joint dysfunction is diagnosed as the cause of your pain, your doctor may recommend any of the following:

For severe cases of pain that do not respond to treatment, one or both of your sacroiliac joints may be fused with the goal of eliminating any abnormal motion.