Sacroiliac Dysfunctions (Sacral Pain)

What is Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction?

The sacroiliac joint is a joint between the sacrum and the ilium, or pelvic bone. The 2 sides of the sacroiliac joint normally work together. If 1 side becomes stiff, they will not move together and this causes pain or muscle stiffness in the area. Pain is often made worse with walking and bending activities. It is also possible that 1 side may become too loose (lax) as well, resulting in SIJ dysfunction. This may occur during the menstrual cycle or pregnancy due to hormonal changes that cause the ligaments to become more lax. SIJ dysfunction can occur with injury, such as when a person falls and lands on 1 side of the body and alters the position of the joint, or when an athlete overtrains. Muscle imbalances and hip problems, such as hypermobility or dysplasia, may also lead to SIJ dysfunction. Sacroiliac pain is also related to some types of arthritis, such as ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory process most often affects the lower back, which may cause the vertebrae to fuse.

How Does it Feel?

People with SIJ dysfunction may experience:

  • Pain that may be sharp, stabbing or dull, localized to 1 side of the pelvis/low back, groin, or tailbone.
  • Pain that may radiate down to the knee.
  • Pain with movements, such as standing up from a sitting position, turning in bed, or bending/twisting.
  • Muscle tightness and tenderness in the hip/buttock region.
  • Pain with walking, standing, and prolonged sitting.
  • Pain that is worse when standing and walking, and eases when sitting or lying down.

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