The sacroiliac joint is one of the largest joints in the body. It has two very important functions. It provides elasticity to the pelvis which is necessary with childbirth and it serves as a buffering mechanism between the spine and the hip joints. Strong ligaments are located on the front and back of the joint. There are a few degrees of movement in healthy joints, but when a joint becomes injured or strained, pain and dysfunction result. Minor dysfunction of this joint is capable of causing lower back pain and limitation of the activities of daily living. The sacroiliac joint is frequently overlooked as a major cause of lower back pain.
Symptoms of Sacroiliac Syndrome
Intensity of the pain may vary from a dull ache to a sharp disabling pain. The primary area of pain is located right over the joint. However, where diagnostic confusion can occur is when the pain is referred to different areas. Pain may be referred to one or more of the following areas:
- Groin – Pain is referred to the groin on the same side. This can be confused with hip joint pathology. The patient may limp as if the hip joint is the pain generator. Pain in this area could also be confused with a higher lumbar disc herniation at the L1/L2 level.
- Greater Trochanter – Large bursa around the hip joint may be considered as causing the buttock and hip joint area pain. Pain from the sacroiliac can radiate into the greater trochanter which is part of the leg bone at the hip joint.
- Leg – Leg pain may extend from below the buttocks all the way down the lateral aspect of the thigh and leg towards the posterior calf. This could be mistaken as a lower lumbar disc herniation resulting in sciatica.
- Piriformis Muscle Syndrome – Intense pain may be felt in the buttock just below the sacroiliac joint. Pain can radiate from the buttock into the hip joint and upper leg. The piriformis syndrome is muscular in origin and may entrap the sciatic nerve.
The doctor will began to sort out the cause of your low back pain with a history of the onset of your complaints and a physical examination.
How is the Sacroiliac Syndrome Diagnosed?
In addition to the history provided, the doctor has a few special tests that can isolate the joint and reproduce the pain. Palpation and performing these tests will provides signs and symptoms that focus upon the injured sacroiliac joint. X-rays will be negative with younger patients, but as we age degenerative changes can occur in the sacroiliac joints. More degenerative changes can result in a slow recovery from an injury to the sacroiliac. Bilateral sacroiliac pain and generalized stiffness in younger adult males may be the early onset of a condition called sacroilitis or ankylosing spondylitis. It is less common in females, but it can occur.
Treatment of the Sacroiliac Syndrome
Chiropractic manipulation or sacroiliac adjustments have proven to be effective in the care and treatment of the sacroiliac syndrome. There are various chiropractic techniques that can be used; some may be more efficient than others. Two very effective techniques include side posture manipulation and using a drop-piece adjustment to the sacroiliac. Treatment is the most effective when performed to patient tolerance. This should be attempted only by skilled chiropractic practitioners.
The doctor may prescribe various modalities such as ultrasound or electrical muscle stimulation to assist with care in the office setting.
Sacroiliac dysfunction is painful and can limit your activities. The doctors at Coon Rapids Chiropractic Office have experience in the care and treatment of the sacroiliac syndrome.