Understanding Sacroiliac Joint Issues

Understanding Sacroiliac Joint Issues

If you’ve ever dealt with seemingly unexplained back pain, you know how frustrating it can be. And you’re not alone. Back pain is one of the most common reasons that adults visit their doctors and miss work days, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. 

Sometimes, back pain — especially lower back pain — can seem to come out of nowhere, with no injury or even preceding pain. When this happens, there’s a chance it could be your sacroiliac (SI) joint. 

Sacroiliac joint pain can also feel like a sharp pain that shoots through your hips and legs, a numb feeling in your thighs or buttocks, or a chronic dull ache. Kenneth Varley, MD, a pain management doctor at Southern Pain Specialists, has treated many patients with SI joint issues, and he can help you, too. The first step is understanding SI joint issues.

What is the sacroiliac joint? 

You actually have two SI joints: one on your left side and one on your right side. Your SI joints form where your sacrum and iliumbones meet. Together, your sacrum and ilium make up a large portion of your pelvic region. Your SI joints help support the weight of your body and distribute it across your pelvis. 

Why does my sacroiliac joint hurt?

Your SI joints may hurt for a number of reasons. Here’s a rundown of common SI joint issues: 

SI joint hypermobility

Having hypermobile SI joints means they move too much, which can result in instability in the joints. When your SI joints are unstable, you may feel pain in your hips and lower back.

SI joint hypomobility

Hypomobility, on the other hand, means your SI joints don’t move enough, which means they’re too tight. This typically manifests as inflexibility and stiffness and usually shows up more on one side than the other.

SI joint inflammation

Sacroiliitis, or inflammation of the SI joints, can cause pain in your hips, groin area, or lower back. Doctors usually diagnose this through imaging tests.

Gait issues

 “Gait” refers to your walking patterns. Abnormal walking patterns, such as excessive pronation (flat foot) or supination (duck walk), can cause SI joint dysfunction and eventually lead to pain in the pelvic region and, in severe cases, all the way through the legs.

Treatment for sacroiliac joint pain

Treatment for SI joint pain will depend on the type of dysfunction happening in your joint. Common treatments include physical therapy, exercise, and stretching, but the exact treatments you get will depend on your condition. 

Ultimately, the goal will be to reduce or eliminate your pain and improve your mobility. To this end, Dr. Varley will customize a care plan to get you feeling well again.