Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Dysfunction can be difficult to diagnose. That’s because the SI joints are so close to the hip bones and lumbar spine. It’s not uncommon for SI Joint Dysfunction to be mistaken for a herniated or bulging disc, or for any number of other commonly diagnosed causes of lower back and hip pain.

SI joints are hard-working, weight-bearing joints. You have two: one on the left and one on the right side of your pelvis. They connect your sacrum and your right and left iliac bones. The ligaments and cartilage that surround them are some of the strongest in your body. Your SI joints have numerous nerve endings, which can make them extremely sensitive to pain. That pain can come and go, and it can present in places other than your back. You could feel it in your hips, thighs, groin, even your feet.

If you’re feeling pain in any of these areas while doing simple daily activities such as climbing stairs, transitioning from side to side while laying down, or getting up from a chair, or if your pain is aggravated from walking or standing for long periods of time, but subsides when laying still, then you may be suffering from SI Joint Dysfunction. If you’re feeling a stiffness or a burning sensation in your pelvis, it might be a symptom of SI Joint Dysfunction.

The most common causes of SI Joint Dysfunction are altered gait, trauma such as motor vehicle accidents and pregnancy, but often there isn’t a clear identifying inciting event. Our Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialists diagnose and treat this  musculoskeletal conditions using a holistic, multidisciplinary approach.  To determine whether you have SI Joint Dysfunction or something else, your doctor will perform a series of tests ranging from compression and rotation tests to scans and lab work.

If these tests don’t reveal an obvious an obvious source of your pain, then the doctor may use an SI joint injection to diagnose your condition. This is one of the most accurate methods of diagnosing SI Joint Dysfunction. The injection includes a numbing medication and a steroid. If the injection works, it tells your doctor the SI joints are the source of at least some of your pain.

Other treatments might include heat and ice application, pain and anti-inflammatory medications, and chiropractic care. Your doctor may also suggest a series of stretching and strengthening exercises to alleviate pain and help prevent recurrence. Physical therapy can be particularly effective, especially when your therapist has had training in manual techniques.