Today we’re going to be talking about the sacroiliac joint, this is one that often people think they have a problem originating from, but we’ll go into the ins and outs of how the joint works, as well as the surrounding structures that can be affecting where you feel the pain. The role of your sacroiliac joint is to transmit weight forces both up and through the hips into the spine, and down the hips into the legs. Under good circumstances, this joint can be moved by just a couple of degrees at the most, and that’s a really important thing to consider when being told that you have a sacroiliac problem – mostly known as sacroiliac joint dysfunction. If you’re not able to move a joint, the chances of it being injured are relatively slim, but there is a way it can become injured.
What Can Cause Sacroiliac Joint Pain?
For the reason we just mentioned above, we’re generally not of the opinion that sacroiliac joint dysfunction is common, as we generally look at the spine rather than this particular joint. To establish first and foremost what exactly is causing a patient’s pain, we would look to do a thorough examination, potentially also including imaging if deemed necessary. X-ray imaging performed standing can indicate whether anything specific is affecting that sacroiliac joint, for example, if there are varying degrees of leg length or hip height. These two issues can only accurately be determined to be a problem with upright imaging, so you can effectively measure the joints for any discrepancies.
One of the biggest pieces of advice we would give to patients if they’ve been told they have a leg or hip length discrepancy, is just to make sure this has been diagnosed accurately and not through a practitioner who has not used imaging to determine this. There are some practitioners who attempt to measure this using a tape measure against the leg, or by looking at your feet hanging off the end of an examination table, but both of these methods are not accurate enough. The reason this is important is that the sacroiliac joint distributes the forces going up and down into the spine, but if there are abnormal hip or leg lengths then one side will bear more weight which can make for uneven stress levels in the area. With the right imaging, however, this problem can be resolved using heel raises.
If you have a recurring back problem, it’s not possible to treat around the sacroiliac joint because it can’t move. You are limited to treating the structures around it. A genuine case of sacroiliac joint dysfunction usually occurs in women who have given birth or are currently pregnant, as this joint becomes a little more mobile in these circumstances. In pregnant ladies, the sacroiliac joint loosens in order to prepare for childbirth, so it is possible for this area to become unstable. These issues will usually resolve on their own, but if not you may need some treatment to address the problem.
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How Do We Treat Sacroiliac Joint Pain
When addressing this type of problem, looking to the lower back might help you to relieve your symptoms. In our membership area at www.backinshapeapp.com, which is free to access, you can find some stretches to start off with to help loosen off muscles that can pull on your lower back and cause you pain in this region. Relieving stiffness in the legs and hips can help them to not pull on your lower back as they become tight, and will improve your flexibility and range of movement in the area.
A lot of people jump immediately to support belts as the easy treatment route, however these are not devices we would recommend to many people. Sacroiliac belts can provide stability, but to the detriment of the structures that are supposed to provide stability in the area. Building a strong core, lower back and leg muscles can all help to support your body effectively. If you jump to using a support belt, the muscles do not end up being worked and so will deteriorate if they’re not used. If you’re feeling pain in the area around the sacroiliac joint, do bear in mind that most of the time it is usually the lower back that is the issue, not the joint itself.
We hope you’ve found today’s article helpful! If you have any questions about sacroiliac joint pain, do feel free to get in touch with us either via our social channels, or by tuning in to our daily livestreams on our Facebook or YouTube channels. If you do have back pain and you’re not sure how you can deal with it at home, please do go ahead and check out our free membership area at www.backinshapeapp.com for more detailed guidance!
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