The sacroiliac joint is the joint between the sacrum and iliac bones that may cause a lot of pain and discomfort. The pain can be debilitating and leave you immobile. The joint causes back pain more than anything because it lies between the lumbar region and the coccyx bone. The primary source of pain is joint dysfunction. Since there are two sacroiliac joints, there can be discomfort in one or both of them. The sacroiliac joint has an important function, and when there is dysfunction in that joint, it affects a lot of different things. The good news is there are ways to both treat and manage your pain.
There is a total of 360 joints in the human body. Two of them are the sacroiliac joint. The sacrum is the lower part of the spine that carries a lot of your weight. The sacrum is connected to the ilium. The ilium is the scientific name for the pelvis. The pelvis is also called the iliac crest. The joint has a very important function. It acts as the bridge between the upper part of the body and the lower part of the body. It transfers the weight from the upper body and the lower body. It absorbs a lot of the force and protects the spine from feeling the brunt of the impact. We do not realize the amount of pressure we put on our bodies from running, jumping, or hitting things. The body is built in a way to absorb a lot of that force so that it does not cause bones and things to break. If you did not have the sacroiliac joint when you jumped up and down, the spine would take all that pressure; that could cause damage to the spine. For this reason, it is important to keep the sacroiliac joint healthy.
Causes of Sacroiliac Joint Pain
- Irregular gait
- Sports Injury
- Ligament Damage
Each one of these things can cause sacroiliac joint pain. Sacroiliac joint pain is a result of inflammation. Inflammation can be caused by any of these things above. Some people struggle with an irregular gait because of uneven leg length; this puts a strain on the joint of the longer leg. Arthritis is a common source because it has a direct effect on the joints. Pregnancy does not damage the joints but changes the joints. During pregnancy, hormones are released to make the sacroiliac joint more flexible. While carrying the child, it is very uncomfortable but during delivery, the loosening of the joints come in handy.
The pain from the sacroiliac joint is not necessarily felt in the hips but the back. Since the sacroiliac joint is no longer properly absorbing the pressure, the spine begins to take on a lot of that pressure. The pain ranges. Sometimes the pain is dull and other times the pain is extremely sharp. Although the pain may start in the joint, it spreads quickly. The pain spreads to the buttocks. If it is not treated, it then spreads to the thighs and sometimes the groin area. When you are not moving, the pain may stop. Just standing up can bring a lot of pain. When you have been at a state of rest for a while, the pain will be the greatest because the joint becomes stiff. As you move more, the pain tends to go away more and more but it never really goes away completely. The pain you feel can sometimes be misinterpreted as just back pain or pull in the groin. About a quarter of this type of pain is a result of the sacroiliac joint.
Treatment varies depending on the source of the pain and how severe the pain is. If the pain is due to an injury you have, you should try to rest. Sports related pain means you should stay away from that sport until it heals. Pain medicine also helps to ease the pain. Pain medicine works but taking too much of it can have adverse effects on your body. Physical therapy is another option. The physical therapist helps you to strengthen the muscles around the joint and improve mobility. Cortisone injections are another form of treatment for more severe cases. Cortisone shots ease the pain and help with inflammation. Cortisone shots work for a while but eventually they wear off. Surgery is typically the last option. The best surgical method is to fuse the bones together. It limits your mobility but not to the point that you cannot walk or move.
The sacroiliac joint is not always mentioned, so many people are not familiar with what it does or the problems it causes. So many mistake their back pain for something else and do not realize it is the sacroiliac joint. If you are suffering from abnormal joint pain from running or even standing, you should seek medical attention. If you can get treatment right away, you avoid further damage to the joint.
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