Sacroiliac Joint Pain Center
Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction is a common cause of low back pain. Other terms for this condition include sacroiliitis, SI joint inflammation, SI joint syndrome, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, and SI joint strain. This condition can make daily activities, such as sitting, standing, walking, and even sleeping difficult.
In a study of low back pain, sacroiliac joint dysfunction was prevalent in 13% to 18% of patients.1 Sadly, many patients with SI joint pain may spend months or years without a correct diagnosis. That’s because sacroiliac joint dysfunction is sometimes difficult to diagnose. Since the SI joints are so close to the hip bones and lumbar spine (low back), it’s common for SI joint dysfunction to be mistaken for other causes of low back pain, such as a herniated or bulging disc.
Symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
If you have low back pain, it can be extremely difficult for your doctor to determine the exact source of your pain at first. However, there are a few key symptoms of sacroiliac joint dysfunction you should know. The main symptom of sacroiliac joint dysfunction is low back pain. But SI joint dysfunction can also cause pain in your hips, buttocks, thighs, or groin. Sometimes, SI joint pain can be so severe that just pressing on the area hurts.
Other symptoms of sacroiliac joint dysfunction include:
- Pain while doing daily activities, such as climbing stairs or getting up from a chair
- Pain that is aggravated by standing or walking for long periods of time, but that improves when lying down
- Stiffness or burning sensations in your pelvis
Causes of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
Different conditions can cause SI joint dysfunction. The most common include:
- Arthritis: SI joint dysfunction can be caused by spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)—when your cartilage around your SI joints wears down, your bones can start to rub against each other. Anklylosing spondylitis, a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects your spine, can also cause SI joint dysfunction.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant women may experience low back pain or pelvic pain due to sacroiliac joint dysfunction because the SI joints can stretch and become loose during pregnancy. Also, hormone changes and the additional weight gained during pregnancy can put added stress on SI joints.
- Trauma: A sudden impact like a car accident or bad fall could damage your SI joints.
- Infection: Infection is extremely rare, but it is another possible cause of SI joint dysfunction.
Although SI joint dysfunction may be very painful, keep in mind that there are many treatment options that can help reduce or even prevent your low back pain.
- DePalma MJ, Ketchum JM, Ruchala M, Kouchouk A, Powell D, Trussell BS. Prevalence of disc, facet joint or sacroiliac joint pain in low back pain patients utilizing an algorithmic approach: Gp100. Spine: Affiliated Society Meeting Abstracts. 2010:10;242. http://journals.lww.com/spinejournalabstracts/Fulltext/2010/10001/Prevalence_of_Disc,_Facet_Joint_or_Sacroiliac.242.aspx. Accessed February 14, 2014.
- Zelle BA, Gruen GS, Brown S, et al. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction: evaluation and management. Clin J Pain. 2005;21(5):446-455.
- Sacroiliitis page. Mayo Clinic Web site. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/sacroiliitis/DS00726. July 15, 2010. Accessed September, 9, 2010.