Sacro-Iliac Joint Dysfunction

  Well done! You’ve taken the first steps to understanding and relieving your Sacro-iliac Joint Dysfunction! Once you read this page answer the questions on the sheet given by your physiotherapist at Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia and bring that to your next treatment session. Recovery from your Sacro-iliac Joint Dysfunction is crucial in order to achieve your goals and gain rapid and long-lasting results. Your physiotherapist at Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia has requested that you read this page so that you understand your condition and know how to best manage in between physiotherapy consultations.

Sacroiliac joints

What is Sacro-Iliac Joint Dysfunction? Sacro-iliac Joint Dysfunction (SJD) is the clinical term for a collective group of signs and symptoms of pain in the lower back and sacral region. Other names for this common condition include Sacro-iliac Joint Syndrome and Sacro-iliac Insufficiency. The Sacro-iliac joints (Pictured Right) are the joints that connect the Sacrum (the yellow, wedge-shaped bone) to the two pelvic bones. This joint is the strongest joint in the whole body, with its stability afforded by the congruency of the bony shape, and also with strong ligaments and muscles that attach in the surrounding areas. The main function of the Sacro-iliac joints is to be able to transmit forces from the lower limbs to the spine and upper body and vice versa, as well as to act as a shock absorber. Often times, the Sacro-iliac joints can become a source of pain. The S-I Joints can be the cause of up to 30% of low back pain cases. Symptoms typically include pain in the lower back, near the buttocks region, but can also refer into the groin, the hip, and down the knee. Severe cases may find walking and bearing weight on one leg difficult, such as in walking up stairs.
SIJ Pain

SIJ Pain

  What caused my Sacro-Iliac Joint Dysfunction? There has been much debate over what the cause of Sacro-Iliac Joint pain is. Some theories suggest that when the Sacro-iliac ligaments have been damaged or torn (either through trauma or degeneration), then it can cause inflammation of the joint and be the cause of the pain. Other theories suggest that excess movement of the joint is the cause of the pain. This usually involves trauma such as landing onto the back or buttocks or motor vehicle accidents. Pregnant women are at a greater risk of developing SJD. During pregnancy, there is an altered load on the pelvis, which can lead to spino-pelvic instability, and also a change in the hormones produced. Two hormones that are produced during early pregnancy are Relaxin and Progesterone. These hormones are responsible for breaking down collagen in the ligaments within the pelvic joint to cause laxity and softening of the ligaments, which can in turn, cause excess laxity in the joint. Other factors that can contribute to the cause of this condition include, calcium deficiency, increased weight, lack of exercise (weak musculature) and anatomical or genetic variations.   How can you help me with my Sacro-Iliac Joint Dysfunction? A detailed history, taken by your Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia Clinician, of the pain or injury can determine the underlying cause of your SJD, while a physical assessment of the knee, hip, back and surrounding structures, can determine the best course of action in treating the condition. Usually, treatment will involve correcting any abnormal gait (walking) biomechanics, and strengthening/stretching muscles to reduce muscle imbalances, weakness and tightness.   What should I do to avoid aggravating my Sacro-Iliac Joint Dysfunction?
  • AVOID activities that aggravate your pain, until you have seen a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia Clinician.
  • AVOID generic strengthening activities such as squats and lunges, until you have seen a Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Australia Clinician, as they may be contributing to the muscle imbalances, rather than helping them.
  • REMAIN ACTIVE, while avoiding aggravating activities.
  • For RELIEF, applying ice to the area may help to reduce some pain and inflammation in the initial stages. Be sure to wrap the icepack in a towel, and only apply for 10 minutes every 2 hours. CEASE use if you have any negative reaction.
  • RECEIVE physiotherapy care to get your joints, ligaments and muscles de-loaded and moving freely with no restrictions.
Keep good care of your body and your physiotherapist will continue to monitor your condition. Once your SJD has resolved you will be able to resume your full activities without worrying about future flare-ups.
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