It is important to note that sacroiliac joint pain is typically situated either to the right or left area of the lower back, but it is often times described as a band of pain across the lower part of the back. The pain can vary from an ache to a piercing pain that is disrupted with movement. Sacroiliac joint pain has the tendency to spread out into the buttocks and lower back and can also to the front part of the groin as well as the testicles.
Occasionally, there is referred pain to the lower limb that can be mistaken as sciatica. The classic symptoms also include difficulty in turning over in bed, pain when getting the legs in and out of a vehicle and struggling to wear socks and shoes. The individual will suffer from stiffness in the lower back when getting up after prolonged periods of sitting and when getting up from bed in the morning. Take note that there is aching on the side of the lower back that is likely to occur when driving long distances. In addition, there is also tenderness when the ligaments that surround the joint are palpated.
What are the possible causes?
The causes of sacroiliac joint pain are divided into four groups.
When it comes to traumatic injuries, they are triggered by abrupt impact which jolts the joint. A good example is landing on the buttocks since this injury typically causes damage to the ligaments that support the joint.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to sacroiliac joint pain. During the preparation for birth, the ligaments of the pelvis will have increased laxity. The laxity along with increased weight will put additional strain on the spine.
Pain caused by biomechanical injuries typically occurs over a period of time and often with increased activity or change in sport or occupation. The usual biomechanical issues include over pronation, leg length discrepancy, muscle imbalances and twisted pelvis.
Inflammatory joint disease
There are also inflammatory conditions that can affect the spine such as ankylosing spondylitis. This is the most common condition that causes sacroiliac joint pain.
Treatment of sacroiliac joint pain
The individual must rest from any activities that can cause pain. In case the neighboring muscles have constricted, it is recommended to utilize a warm compress to promote relaxation. Do not use heat if an inflammatory issue is suspected since this will only make it worse. Cold therapy is usually recommended for effective results. If you want to learn more about this treatment option, register for a first aid course. (Read here for more information about the courses).
Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen can be used but it is best to consult a doctor first. In some cases, a sacroiliac back belt can be used to relieve some of the strain off the joint.
When to consult a doctor
A sports injury professional can perform a full assessment and carry out diagnostic tests to determine the exact cause of the pain. Certain diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis will be ruled out and deal with the cause as well as the symptoms.
Take note that electrotherapy can be utilized to treat the affected tissues. If needed and safe, the pelvis is levelled out through sacroiliac joint manipulation and mobilization. Sports massage can help reduce any tension in the soft tissue. A rehabilitation program is also started in order to correct any muscle imbalances. The program typically includes Pilates that will strengthen the core muscles in the trunk. If the treatment options failed, corticosteroid injection to the sacroiliac joint will be administered.