Sacroiliac joint pain is the most common lower back pain affecting men and women. This article will discuss 13 common causes with 9 best stretches treatment for sacroiliac joint pain.
What is Sacroiliac joint pain?
The Sacroiliac joint is among the most mysterious joints in the human body. It is a synovial joint that connects the pelvis to the hip socket. It is located between the sacrum and ilium, allowing for movement in these two areas. This joint comprises three bones: the sacrum, ilium, and vertebral body.
The sacroiliac joint can cause problems when it goes out of alignment or suffers injuries. Injuries to this joint can occur when your pelvis is forced out of place. In addition,sacroiliac joint pain may occur in the lower back, buttock, groin, and outer thigh areas.
What are the Symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Pain?
The most common symptoms of sacroiliac joint pain include leg pain and stiffness.
- Sore hips
- Groin pain and tightness
- Fatigue and numbness in the legs and pelvic region
- Pain in the low back and buttocks
- Pain that worsens when you stand up or sit down for a long time
- Swelling in the area where the sacroiliac joints connect to your spine (spine)
13 Common Causes of Sacroiliac Joint Pain
Sacroiliac joint pain occurs due to ligaments or muscle stretching, spurring bone-on-bone contact, inflammation of the Sacroiliac joint, or spinal misalignment. The common causes include:
1. Injury to the Sacroiliac Joint
Injuries such as trauma, repetitive motion injury sports injuries are common causes of sacroiliac joint pain. These injuries may occur due to a direct blow or fall on the joint, resulting in a partial or complete dislocation.
Another cause of injury may be an accident or fall that damages the ligaments around the joint. Injuries can also include surgery on the hip.
2. Age-related Degeneration
Another risk factor for developing sacroiliac joint pain is age. As you grow old, your bones and joints will start to wear down, which can make you experience joint pain.
In addition, if you have any injury or long-term inflammation in your hips from arthritis or any other condition, it may lead to problems with your Sacroiliac joint.
3. Repetitive Stress and Strain
Stress is another factor that can increase your risk of developing sacroiliac joint pain. When you’re under a lot of stress, certain hormones like cortisol are released by your body.
These hormones can increase inflammation throughout your body and worsen existing conditions, leading to more discomfort in your hips. In addition, people who are overweight or obese may be at an increased risk for sacroiliac joint pain.
Pregnancy is also one of the causes of sacroiliac joint pain. The hormone causes the ligaments in the pelvis to loosen, which can lead to pain.
In addition, the uterus, the baby, and the growing fetus put pressure on the sacrum. As a result, this area of the lower back becomes more sensitive to pain than usual.
5. Extra Weight
If you have extra weight, it will put more pressure on the joints, causing more significant wear and tear over time. A lack of physical activity also contributes to obesity.
If you find yourself gaining weight without changing your diet or level of exercise, speak with your doctor as soon as possible.
6. Lumbar Sprain
A lumbar sprain is an inflammation and damage to the ligaments that support the spine. The injury can occur from trauma or overuse, such as repeatedly bending forward while lifting heavy objects.
Tumors are masses of tissue that develop from cells that have grown out of control or spread from another body part. They can cause sacroiliac joint pain and other symptoms, such as swelling or redness around or near the tumor.
8. Misalignments in the Spine
In some cases, misalignments in your spine may lead to inflammation of your sacroiliac joints, mainly if they’re located near them.
For example, if scoliosis (a curvature of your spine that develops during childhood), your sacroiliac joints may become irritated from constant pressure against them due to this curvature. Scoliosis is more common amongst children than adults, but it does occur in both groups.
9. Herniated Disc
Discs in the spine can press on the nerves that pass through them and cause pain in areas beyond their boundaries. Herniated discs are most common in people with previous spinal surgery or back injuries.
They can also happen if you participate in sports with a lot of twisting, such as tennis elbow or golfing elbow. These injuries often co-occur with other conditions, like osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease.
The disc may be partially or wholly ruptured and extruded into the surrounding soft tissue, causing pain and inflammation. Herniated discs can also cause back pain and sciatica symptoms down the leg and foot.
Osteoarthritis is a common condition that affects the joints in your body. With osteoarthritis, there is damage to your cartilage and bone and inflammation in your joint.
This condition occurs when cartilage breaks down over time due to wear and tear from overuse, aging, and injury.
11. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of arthritis that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its healthy tissue. The most common form of this disease affects the joints, tendons, and muscles.
The most common joint involved is the Sacroiliac joint. The pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis can be severe, but you can treat it effectively with medication and physical therapy.
However, rheumatoid arthritis can cause pain in other joints as well. The most common pain sites include the shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles.
Spondylosis is an arthritic condition that affects the spine and causes pain in this and other body areas. It can be caused by repetitive stress on a specific part of the spine, such as sacroiliac joints, or it may be caused by degeneration of bone tissue throughout the spine over time.
13. Ankylosing Spondylitis
Another common cause of sacroiliac joint pain is ankylosing spondylitis. This condition occurs when inflammation forms in the spine and causes a rash around the sacroiliac joints.
Unfortunately, Ankylosing spondylitis is a long-term condition with no cure; however, some treatments may help relieve symptoms and prevent the progression of this disease.
What are the diagnoses and treatments for Sacroiliac Joint Pain?
Diagnosing and treating sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction will improve your overall health, reduce both symptoms, and prevent future problems. You may find this treatment helpful even if you don’t know what caused the situation in the first place. There are numerous ways of treating sacroiliac joint pain.
Pain medications: If you have osteoarthritis, your doctor may recommend a prescription drug daily.
Exercise: Exercise can help strengthen muscles around your lower back, which will help reduce pain from sacroiliac joint pain and other conditions that affect your lower back structures, such as arthritis or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine).
Surgery: Surgery can be done to repair a torn or dislocated sacroiliac joint or to treat arthritis that is causing your sacroiliac joints to become painful and stiff. The surgery may include:
- Arthroscopic surgery: This procedure uses an instrument with tiny brushes to remove debris from your knee joint that irritates the joint.
- Open surgery: With this procedure, your surgeon will cut through the skin and muscle around the joint area, remove excess cartilage and ligaments from within the joint, and then put in new ones that should help strengthen it.
Ice packs: Ice packs can help reduce pain and swelling in the area. In addition, use ice packs directly to the painful extent after sitting for long periods.
Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy is an alternative treatment that uses essential oils containing different chemical compounds to ease muscle tension caused by stress or inflammation in your body. You may use essential oils internally and externally to relieve pain and promote relaxation.
Physical therapy: Physical therapy is another treatment that can help reduce the pain you experience. It can help improve your flexibility and mobility and maintain or improve your strength and range of motion in your lower back.
9 Best Stretches for Sacroiliac Joint Pain
Stretching and strengthening exercises for the sacroiliac joint can help relieve pain and improve overall mobility. These stretches are easy to do since they don’t require any tools or equipment, just your body weight, and common sense. Here are some times for sacroiliac joint pain:
1. The Sacroiliac Stretch for Sacroiliac Joint Pain
The sacroiliac stretch is a great way to relieve tension in the SI joint. To do this stretch:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Place your arm behind your head and gently pull the chair toward your shoulder until you feel a stretch in the SI joint.
- Hold for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Repeat three times daily.
2. Seated Spinal Twist
Sit on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you. Cross your right ankle over your left knee so that the toes of both feet are facing up.
Keeping your spine aligned with the ground, rotate your upper body toward the right side so that your right elbow touches down on the floor.
Then tilt at least 45 degrees while keeping your back straightened throughout this movement. Return by rotating into a neutral position again after completing this stretch by sitting upright with both feet flat on the ground.
3. The Wall Stretch for Sacroiliac Joint Pain
This stretch is also suitable for relieving tension in the SI joint. To do this stretch, stand tall with feet hip-width apart and knees straight (not locked).
Place hands on the wall beside your hips or your head as if you were leaning against it. Use elbows to gently press into the wall and hold for 10 seconds at a time before releasing and repeating three times daily.
4. The Stomach Stretch
The stomach stretch is a great way to ease sacroiliac joint pain. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Cross your left foot over your right, then gently hug your left knee into your chest.
Bring the back of your upper thigh against your upper arm, ensuring not to hyperextend the hip or round it toward you. Keep your spine long and the hips level by pressing through them as if you were trying to draw a straight line from your fingertips to the floor.
Bring more awareness into the abdomen as you hold this position for 1-2 minutes before moving on to another stretch.
5. W-D Stretch
The W-D stretch helps lengthen and relax the muscles in your lower back. To do this stretch:
- Stand next to a chair with one hand on it.
- Bend your weight on your hand. Keep the other leg straight out before you, off the ground.
- Slowly lean forward to sit on your bent leg until you feel a comfortable stretch.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds, then switch legs. If needed, use the armrest of the chair to balance yourself.
6. Piriformis Stretch
The piriformis muscle is located at the hip area, and if it becomes inflamed or irritated, it can cause significant discomfort in various places like the buttocks and thighs. It’s also possible that people who experience sciatica might have a painful piriformis muscle.
Lie on your back to perform the piriformis stretch and place a rolled-up towel under your knee. Next, place both hands behind your thigh and pull gently until you feel a gentle pull along the buttock toward the knee.
You should hold this position for 15 seconds and repeat twice before switching sides. Stretch as often as you need to throughout the day to keep it from getting too tight again.
7. Hamstring Stretch
The hamstring muscle group runs down the back of your leg to below the knee joint. When they become short and tight, they can pinch nerves in this region, resulting in pain.
A good hamstring stretch is done standing against a wall with both hands grasping a pole for support and feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your right knee behind you and push your pelvis backward as far as you can.
Then lean forward at the waist until you feel a slight stretch in the back of your right leg. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, then repeat with the opposite side. Repeat this stretch three times per day for better results.
8. Knee-to-chest Stretch for Sacroiliac Joint Pain
This stretch is perfect for the hamstrings and your spine. Lie on your back and bring one knee towards your chest. Grab the leg with both hands and bring it closer to your body, but not so close that you feel any pain.
You want to be able to rotate the leg inward, too, and hold it in place for 10-20 seconds. After having this position, slowly release the stretch, then switch legs. It’s important never to force a time and only to go as far as is comfortable.
Continue the exercise for 10-15 minutes each day, even when you don’t notice much change in pain.
9. Cat-camel Stretch
This stretch is beneficial for your lower back and pelvic joints. First, get into the cat position on your hands and knees with your back arched, then round your back as you arch it upwards to form a camel.
Make sure you stay in this position for at least 10 seconds before starting another repetition. Do five repetitions of this stretch, to begin with, and work your way up to ten or fifteen.