Lower back pain can be debilitating in any form. It can knock you down making it difficult to walk, sit, or even tie your shoes. There are many causes of lower back pain. One part of our lower back anatomy that is often overlooked is our SI joint.
The SI (sacroiliac) joint is often a forgotten joint as we tend to focus on the discs of the lumbar spine as the reason for all of our lower back pain. One reason it is often overlooked is because it behaves very differently from our other joints. Many of the joints that we think of are synovial joints which are more freely movable such as the shoulder and hip joints. The SI joint is different as it is partially a synovial joint as in the anterior part it is synovial and in the posterior portion it is syndesmosis or held together by ligaments. Because of this there is not a lot of movement in the SI joint, however, there is still movement and it is important that we have movement in our SI joints in order to perform daily activities such as walking.
There are many reasons to get pain in the SI joint. One common reason is due to a sprain of the SI ligaments. This could be due to lifting something heavy that causes too much stress on the SI ligaments or even a sudden hit from a car accident. Another common reason for SI joint pain is due to degenerative arthritis. When you get arthritis in your SI joint this can make it difficult to move due to narrowing of the joint space between the sacrum and ilium bones. A less common reason for of SI joint is arthritis due to an inflammatory disease such as ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, or enteropathic arthritis. These can cause pain in the SI joint due to narrowing of the joint space and they may take getting additional treatments from a specialist in order to get proper treatment.
When we experience an injury to the SI joint or the ligaments around the joint, we will have less movement due to tight ligaments and muscles around the joint. When this happens the SI joint won’t properly function which can cause pain when walking, sitting, or any movement that relies on SI joint movement. When the SI joint is the culprit of your lower back pain it can manifest in your lower back and can even go into your legs mimicking sciatica pain.
Luckily there are things that you can do. Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation have been shown to be effective in decreasing SI joint pain. They have also been shown to be effective in treating SI joint pain caused by arthritis due to helping to improve joint range of motion. Exercises that focus on core stability have also been shown to help with SI joint pain. In our office we use therapeutic modalities such as therapeutic ultrasound and electric muscle stimulation to decrease pain. Acupuncture, massage, and physical therapy are also other great additional treatment options to help with SI joint pain.
For more information regarding chiropractic care and arthritis check out the link below