The joint at the base of the spinal column is called the sacroiliac joint or SI. It connects the sacrum bone, which is the end of the spine, to the pelvic bone, which is the hip bone. The SI joint is extremely stable and strong, but dysfunction in it tends to happen particularly in young and middle-aged women.
Why Does SI Joint Pain Happen?
- An injury to the back while playing sports or due to any other accident can cause an inflammation which results in pain.
- Uneven legs (one longer than the other) cause an uneven stride which leads to SI joint pain.
- Any constant activity stresses the sacroiliac joint and causes dysfunction such as jogging.
- Any damage to the ligaments that connect the SI joint cause an abnormal movement in it which also results in dysfunction and pain.
- With age, the cartilage covering the sacroiliac joint wears, which causes dysfunction and pain.
- Arthritis, specifically Ankylosing Spondylitis, damages the SI joint and results in pain.
- In pregnant women, hormones are released that loosen the SI joint. This makes it move more than usual which ends up as stiffness in the lower back and pain.
What Are The Symptoms Of Sacroiliac Joint Pain?
The most prominent symptom of SI joint dysfunction is pain radiating from the thighs to the buttock area. In some rare cases, it spreads to the sciatic nerve and causes foot ache too. Some other symptoms of SI joint pain are:
- When you get up from a sitting position, the pain begins in the lower back as a dull or sharp ache. As you stand, it moves either downwards to the thighs, buttocks and groin or upwards to the upper back.
- The pain tends to be on one side of the body.
- The ache is more common in the morning. It lessens or diminishes as evening comes.
How Do You Treat SI Joint Pain?
A doctor or therapist must be consulted to treat sacroiliac joint pain in women. Most often, the health practitioner will ask you to stop doing the activity that is causing the pain. In some cases, they will prescribe painkillers to treat it. In a more severe situation, a physiotherapist will set an exercise regime. The physical activity helps in:
- Strengthening your muscles
- Improving your flexibility.
The physiotherapy also works on removing any habit that leads to pain. For example, if the person walks with a limp, then it will be corrected, or if they tend to lean to one side, then that will be amended.
Besides physiotherapy, cold and heat treatments help to alleviate the ache. If the SI joint is highly inflamed, then cortisone injections may also be given. The last step is to fuse the sacroiliac joint through surgery.