Could Your Low Back Pain be SI Joint Related?
  • Joel J. Digris

Could Your Low Back Pain be SI Joint Related?

What in thee world is that crazy language? Did you say SI Joint? This is a little known joint in the small of your back that people may have never heard of but could be the root cause of your back pain...We've seen many people's lives turned upside down, not being able to enjoy the activities that they love because of their pain, but, not knowing how it can be helped.


The SI joint is better known as the Sacroiliac Joint and you know it as the little hard bump on both sides of your low back..that bony bump on each side is your SI joint.


If you don’t know the source of your lower back pain, consider your sacroiliac (SI) joint a possible suspect. Even though many people have never heard of it, estimates say that dysfunction of the SI joint is responsible for 15% to 30% of lower back pain cases.


The sacroiliac joint(s) can become a source of pain back and leg pain when there is either too much or too little movement in the joints. Inflammation of the sacroiliac joint (sacroiliitis) can also produce pelvic pain and stiffness.


What is an SI joint?


The SI joint is where your pelvis connects to the bottom of your spine (sacrum). You have one of these joints on each side.


SI joints are sturdy and withstand tremendous pressure. They support the weight of your upper body, acting as shock absorbers when energy transfers between your upper body and your pelvis and legs. These joints also support your range of motion when you bend at the hips or twist.


Every time you get up from a seat or walk upstairs, you’re putting stress on your SI joints. Daily activities wear down these joints over time. If the joints move too much (or too little), it can lead to pain.


What SI joint pain feels like


SI joint problems can be characterized by these symptoms:

Dull, aching pain on one side of your lower back.

Lower back pain that worsens with certain movements, such as getting in and out of a car, bending down, and getting out of bed in the morning.

Pain that radiates down behind your upper leg, similar to sciatica.

Pain that feels like it’s coming from your hips.


Pain caused by SI joint dysfunction can occur on both sides of your body, even though it’s more common to have pain on just one side.


Another fact to keep in mind: SI Joint dysfunction is more common in young and middle-aged women. Women who are pregnant or have recently given birth may be more susceptible to SI joint pain


What SI joint pain doesn’t feel like


Pain caused by SI joint dysfunction doesn’t commonly show these characteristics:

Pain that radiates down the leg below the knee.

Weakness or numbness in your lower body.


If you exhibit these symptoms, your SI joint is not likely the source of pain.


How to check for SI joint dysfunction


It is recommended you visit a physical therapist to see if you have SI joint dysfunction. Typically they apply gentle pressure using various techniques. These tests may include:

Sacral thrust test. Pressure is applied to the back of your hips while you lie face down on a table.

Distraction test. Pressure is applied to the front of your hips while you lie face up on a table.

FABER test. You lie on your back with one leg straight and the other leg bent, its ankle resting on your straight leg’s thigh. (In this position, your body may look like a figure “4.”) Pressure is applied by gently pushing your bent knee down and out.


If these tests reproduce your pain, it may signal SI joint dysfunction.


SI joint dysfunction can’t be pinpointed by imaging diagnostics, such as an x-ray or MRI.


At Achieva Rehab, SI joint dysfunction can lead to rotation of the pelvis in very short amounts, but, this can cause great pain. We love SI joint rotations because they are fairly easy to manage. Take advantage of our FREE Phone Assessment with our Specialist to see how our brand of Physical Therapy can help you. Get back to being independent and active in your community without pills, injections, or constantly going to the doctor.


Click HERE to Arrange Your FREE Phone Assessment.


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