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Sacroiliac Joint Pain: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

What are the symptoms of sacroiliac joint pain?

Sacroiliac joint pain is a common cause of lower back pain and can also cause pain in the buttocks, hips, and thighs. The symptoms of sacroiliac joint pain can vary widely among individuals, but common symptoms include:

  1. Pain: The most common symptom of sacroiliac joint pain is pain in the lower back, buttocks, hips, and thighs. The pain is typically dull and aching but may also be sharp or stabbing. The pain may worsen with certain activities, such as standing up from a seated position or climbing stairs.
  2. Stiffness: Stiffness in the lower back, hips, or thighs may occur, especially in the morning or after prolonged periods of sitting or standing.
  3. Radiating pain: Pain from the sacroiliac joint can radiate down the leg, mimicking sciatica. However, sacroiliac joint pain typically does not radiate below the knee.
  4. Instability: Some people with sacroiliac joint pain may feel like their pelvis is unstable or like their leg is giving way.
  5. Tenderness: The area around the sacroiliac joint may be tender to the touch.
  6. Pain with certain movements: Certain movements, such as bending forward, twisting, or bearing weight on the affected side, may worsen the pain.
  7. Pain relief with rest: Resting or changing positions may help alleviate the pain temporarily.

It’s important to note that the symptoms of sacroiliac joint pain can be similar to those of other conditions, such as herniated discs or arthritis. A healthcare provider can help diagnose the cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment.

What are the causes of sacroiliac joint pain?

Sacroiliac joint pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  1. Trauma: A sudden impact, such as a fall or a car accident, can injure the sacroiliac joint and lead to pain.
  2. Arthritis: Osteoarthritis or inflammatory arthritis (such as ankylosing spondylitis) can cause inflammation and damage to the sacroiliac joint, leading to pain and stiffness.
  3. Pregnancy: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can loosen the ligaments around the sacroiliac joint, leading to increased mobility and potential irritation or inflammation.
  4. Degeneration: Wear and tear over time can lead to degeneration of the sacroiliac joint, causing pain and stiffness.
  5. Infection: In rare cases, an infection in the sacroiliac joint can cause pain and inflammation.
  6. Leg length discrepancy: A difference in leg length can put uneven pressure on the sacroiliac joint, leading to pain.
  7. Abnormal walking patterns: Conditions that affect how you walk, such as scoliosis or uneven hips, can put strain on the sacroiliac joint and cause pain.
  8. Overuse: Repetitive activities that involve twisting or bending at the waist can strain the sacroiliac joint and lead to pain.
  9. Poor posture: Poor posture can put extra stress on the sacroiliac joint, leading to pain over time.

It’s important to note that sacroiliac joint pain can sometimes be challenging to diagnose, as it can mimic other conditions such as sciatica or hip arthritis. A healthcare provider can help determine the cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment.

What is the treatment for sacroiliac joint pain?

The treatment for sacroiliac joint pain depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the pain. Conservative treatments are usually tried first, and if these are not effective, more invasive treatments may be considered. Common treatment options for sacroiliac joint pain include:

  1. Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion, which can reduce pain and improve function in the sacroiliac joint.
  2. Medications: Over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. In some cases, prescription medications such as muscle relaxants or corticosteroids may be prescribed.
  3. Joint injections: Corticosteroid injections into the sacroiliac joint can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. These injections are usually done under fluoroscopy or ultrasound guidance for accuracy.
  4. Radiofrequency ablation: This procedure involves using heat to destroy the nerves that supply the sacroiliac joint, which can provide long-lasting pain relief in some cases.
  5. Supportive devices: Using a sacroiliac joint belt or brace can help stabilize the joint and reduce pain, especially during activities that aggravate the pain.
  6. Activity modification: Avoiding activities that worsen the pain, such as prolonged sitting or standing, can help reduce symptoms.
  7. Sacroiliac joint fusion: In severe cases where conservative treatments have not been effective, sacroiliac joint fusion surgery may be considered. This surgery fuses the sacroiliac joint together to stabilize it and reduce pain.

It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan if you suspect you have sacroiliac joint pain. They can help determine the best course of action based on your symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle.

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About the Author: John Scott

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