The sacroiliac joints (SI joint) are responsible for our ability to walk upright, the cute little dimples above a baby’s bottom, and a good percentage of low back pain. These marvels of engineering allow for the transition from the spine to the pelvis and our ability to walk.
The sacroiliac joints, located two inches to either side of the small of the back, are the two joints that connect the sacrum and the pelvis. The SI joints connect your spine to the pelvis, and thus, the entire lower half of the skeleton.
Pain associated with the sacroiliac joints is usually reported to be a constant dull pain that is sharper on movement. It can be difficult to find a position that is comfortable, with most suffers finding even sitting very difficult. Rising from the seated position can cause a sudden sharp pain as the sacroiliac joints shift their position.
It is common for the SI joint to become stiff and actually ‘lock’. When they become locked it can result in a constant dull ache in the low back and a sharp pain on movement. This ache may be felt above the buttocks or even refer to the groin.
As a form of protection from further harm, muscle spasms may accompany the syndrome. Some muscle spasms in the buttock can even compress the sciatic nerve, causing sciatica in addition to the back pain.
Usually sacroiliac syndrome develops secondary to acute trauma. In some patients, sacroiliac syndrome can develop because of an abnormality of the sacrum bone itself.
In a small percentage of people the sacrum never properly forms, and part of it separates to become an ‘extra’ lumbar vertebrae. This creates an odd situation where the SI joint is somewhat malformed. People who have this anomalous development seem to have more problems with their SI joints and low back, but still benefit from chiropractic care.
In a small percentage of cases there is evidence that abnormal foot mechanics can also be a possible cause of sacroiliac syndrome. If the mechanics of the feet are not symmetrical, then conflicting rotations may occur at the two sacroiliac joints.
Women are at risk for developing SI joint problems due to childbirth. During pregnancy, hormones are released that cause the ligaments around the SI joint to become relaxed in anticipation of delivery through the pelvis. This stretching results in changes to the SI joints, making them ‘hypermobile’ and often degrading their alignment. This problem is further added to by the physical stress of carrying a growing baby in the pelvis.
The presentation of sacroiliac syndrome can vary greatly. A thorough chiropractic examination is recommended to determine the cause of the sacroiliac syndrome and the best course of treatment for you.
For the majority of patients chiropractic adjustment of the sacroiliac joints provides long lasting benefit.