The sacrum is composed of the five sacral vertebrae fused into a single bone. Each person has two iliac bones, a right and a left. These bones articulate anteriorly with the central pubic bone and posteriorly with the sacrum to form the pelvic girdle. The articulation between the right iliac bone and the sacrum is the right sacroiliac (SI) joint. The left sacroiliac (SI) joint is formed by the articulation of the left iliac bone and the sacrum. Both sacroiliac joints are large, flattened sliding joints. Except during hormonal influence in childbirth, these joints move very little. They do, however, have a surrounding joint capsule filled with nerves. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction refers to any condition that interferes with the regular function of the sacroiliac joint. Abnormal movement stretches the joint capsule and may generate pain.
The sacroiliac joint is bolstered by ligaments and plays an integral role in bearing the body’s weight. Each iliac bone contains a cup-like structure that forms the socket articulating with each respective femur or thigh bone. The iliac bones together transfer through the sacroiliac joints the weight of the vertebral column to the legs. Inflammation in the sacroiliac joints results in significant pain when standing.
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction may be the cause of a number of frustrating conditions. This dysfunction can lead to pain in several locations:
- Lower back
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is also extremely common in pregnant women. In order to give birth, the connective ligaments that support the sacroiliac joints relax under hormonal influence. This may lead to lower back pain. Additionally, this wear and tear may cause arthritic pain in some cases.
If you experience sacroiliac joint dysfunction, either from an injury, hormonal imbalance or joint disease, there are a number of treatment options available to you. Some of the most common treatments include:
- Limited rest
- Exercise and stretching techniques to strengthen the lower back muscles
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Ice packs
- Deep tissue massage
- Support belt
If you are not pregnant, contact Laser Spine Institute today if your back pain persists after several weeks of conservative treatments. You may be a candidate for one of our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures.