Sacroiliac joint pain symptoms: Pain lower than lower back pain - Be My Healer
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By Sophie Xie / March 16, 2016

Sacroiliac joint pain symptoms: why it's different from lower back pain

lower back pain actually from SI joint exercise to treat

They both cause pain in the lower back/buttock region. However, sacroiliac joint pain is very different from typical lower back pain. They need very different treatments and precautions.

In this post, I am going to walk you through the sacroiliac(SI) joint pain symptoms and help you test to figure out if your pain pattern indicates SI joint dysfunction. 

Significance of sacroiliac joint

The sacroiliac(SI) joints are two weight-bearing joints connecting your tailbone and pelvic bones. These two joints handle and articulate forces traveling up and down in your body between your spine and lower legs. 

You would think that there must be lots of muscles designated to hold these important joints together. ​However, there is no such muscle. 

The SI joints are held together by a couple groups of ligaments. It relies on the force of our core muscle structure to stay in place. ​Those who lack either core strength or ligament integrity risk  sustaining sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

Is your pain from SI joints?

SI joints and fontins area

Where is your pain? SI joint pain is lower in your back, closer to your buttocks.

Pain with movement? If your pain is caused by SI joint dysfunction, you are more likely to experience pain when you move, especially during transitional movement such as standing up, sitting down, getting off the bed, getting into the car, etc.

Is your pain related to weight bearing through your legs? The SI joints are a hub for energy and weight transferring between the trunk and our two legs. In some cases, when one SI joint become irritated from out of alignment, you would find it hard to stand on the affected leg.

Pain in the fontins area? Based on a study done by Van Der Wurff at al in 2006, people who have SI joint dysfunction had pain in fontins area. Fontins area is described as the region in our glut/buttocks, closer to our midline, along the “butt crack area” (Is it okay to say the B word and C word here?) Others who are experiencing nerve compression, commonly known as “Sciatica”, have reported pain in the gluteal fold, or tuber’s area.

Do you belong to the “high risk” population?

Women in childbearing age are more at risk for developing SI joint dysfunction, especially during pregnancy, postpartum, during breastfeeding, and after multiple births. Women’s hormonal changes can affect the ligament that support and stabilize the SI joint, causing  joint irritation. This is the case where a SI joint belt would help with function and recovery nicely. Exercises can help by activating the right muscles to perform the support and stabilization in SI joints, decreasing pain and irritation.

Another common cause of SI joint dysfunction is good-old osteoarthritis. Just like all other weight bearing joints, the cartilages between the bones on the inner side of the joints become damaged and worn away. While more people are aware that the older population is more likely to have back pain, they are also at higher risk for having sacroiliac joint pain as well.

People who recently experienced trauma in their hip, knee or ankle may also at risk of developing SI joint pain. These injuries are likely to cause disruption in walking pattern (or limping) and can off-set SI joint alignment. Left untreated, this disruption in walking pattern (or limping) and also lead to hip pain and lower back pain.

Health practitioners, such as physical therapists and chiropractors can help you regain alignment. You would still have to do the exercises to reinforce the correct alignment to prevent pain from coming back.

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Thank you for reading, and I hope you find this post helpful.

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