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Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Pain

Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Pain

The sacroiliac joint (SI joint) is a joint located in the pelvis, connecting the sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of the spine) to the ilium (the uppermost part of the pelvic bone). It is a synovial joint, meaning it is surrounded by a joint capsule that contains synovial fluid, which lubricates the joint and reduces friction between the bones.

The SI joint is responsible for transmitting the weight of the upper body to the lower limbs and allowing for movement of the pelvis during walking and other activities. It is a relatively immobile joint, with only a small amount of movement in normal healthy individuals. The joint is supported by a number of ligaments, including the sacroiliac ligament, the interosseous sacroiliac ligament, and the posterior sacroiliac ligament.

Problems with the SI joint can cause pain in the lower back, buttocks, hips, and legs.

There are several different causes of sacroiliac pain, including:

  1. Trauma or injury: A sudden impact or twisting motion can cause injury to the SI joint, resulting in pain and inflammation. This can be caused by a fall, car accident, or other traumatic event.

  2. Degenerative arthritis: Over time, wear and tear on the SI joint can lead to degenerative arthritis, causing pain and stiffness in the joint. This is more common in older adults.

  3. Pregnancy: During pregnancy, hormonal changes can cause the ligaments that support the SI joint to loosen, leading to instability and pain. This is more common in the later stages of pregnancy.

  4. Anatomical anomalies: Some people are born with abnormalities in the structure of the SI joint, which can cause pain and discomfort. Anatomical anomalies of the sacroiliac joint refer to abnormalities in the shape or structure of the joint that can cause pain and discomfort. These anomalies can be congenital, meaning they are present at birth, or they can develop later in life.

    Some common anatomical anomalies of the sacroiliac joint include:

    • Sacralization of the fifth lumbar vertebra: This is a condition where the fifth lumbar vertebra fuses with the sacrum, resulting in a single bone structure instead of two separate bones. This can cause pain and instability in the lower back and hips.

    • Transitional vertebra: This is a condition where there is an extra vertebra in the spine, or one of the existing vertebrae has an abnormal shape. This can cause misalignment and instability in the spine, leading to pain in the sacroiliac joint.

    • Hip dysplasia: This is a condition where the hip joint is abnormally shaped, causing instability and pain in the hip and lower back.

    • Congenital fusion: This is a rare condition where the sacrum and ilium fail to separate during development, resulting in a fused joint. This can cause pain and stiffness in the lower back and hips.

  5. Inflammatory conditions: Conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis or psoriatic arthritis can cause inflammation in the SI joint, leading to pain and stiffness.

  6. Infection: In rare cases, infection can occur in the SI joint, causing pain and inflammation.

Diagnosis of SI joint pain involves a physical examination, medical history, and imaging tests such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans. Treatment options depend on the cause of the pain and may include rest, physical therapy, medication, injections, or in severe cases, surgery.

Come and see me about your Sacroiliac Joint problem at Osteostudio in Ashurst Wood, East Grinstead.

Cliff Russell, Registered Osteopath

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Author: Cliff Russell - Registered Osteopath

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