Sacroiliac joint pain refers to pain (aslo referred to as SIJ Pain) and discomfort in the sacroiliac joint, which is located at the base of the spine where the sacrum (the triangular bone at the lowest point of the spine) meets the ilium (a bone in the pelvis). This joint is responsible for connecting the spine to the pelvis, and plays a crucial role in supporting the body, allowing for movement, and transferring load between the trunk and lower limbs.
Sacroiliac joint pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, arthritis, pregnancy, or overuse. Symptoms of sacroiliac joint pain may include lower back pain, stiffness, and difficulty standing or sitting for long periods.
Treatment for sacroiliac joint pain typically involves physiotherapy, as well as self-management strategies. Physiotherapy can help to reduce inflammation, and improve flexibility and strength in the lower back, hips, and legs. Medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and muscle relaxants, may be required to help manage pain and inflammation.
In addition to these treatment options, there are several self-management strategies that can help to reduce the symptoms of sacroiliac joint pain. These include:
Stretching exercises: Gentle stretching can help to improve flexibility and reduce stiffness in the lower back, hips, and legs.
Strengthening exercises: Strengthening exercises, such as core exercises and exercises that target the back and leg muscles, can help to improve the stability of the lower back and reduce the risk of future injuries.
Good posture: Maintaining good posture can help to reduce the strain on the lower back and reduce the risk of injury.
Hot and cold therapy: Applying heat or cold to the affected area can help to reduce pain and inflammation.
Applying the 5 stages of rehab to sacroiliac joint pain.
Pain – Pain and symptom reduction is best achieved by restoring function to the sacroiliac joint. This may mean treatment is focused on other tissues to reduce pressure on the joint or improve stability around the joint. In some cases supporting the joint with tape or bracing can be highly beneficial. When pain is not settling, medications may be required to reduce inflammation and allow the joint to function normally.
Range of motion – Dysfunction of the sacroiliac joint will result in reduced mobility and flexibility, often affecting the spine and hips as well. Treating the underlying cause, reducing pressure along the path of the joint and practicing exercises that increase stability, mobility and flexibility will help improve range of motion.
Motor control – Learning to control where movement occurs and how to stabilize your lower back under high load will allow the sacroiliac joint to facilitate movement and effectively transfer load between the trunk and lower limbs.
Strength – Strength training the muscles and other soft tissues surrounding the sacroiliac joint builds a capacity to tolerate higher functional demand.
Maintain – Sacroilliac joint dysfunction is often associated with a loss of either “force closure” or “form closure”. These phrases describe stability provided by the muscles (force closure) and stability provided by the joints (form closure). A reduction in muscle support or joint movement will leave a Sacroilliac joint vulnerable to reinjury. Ensuring that range of motion, motor control and strength gains are maintained will help prevent the return of symptoms associated with sacroiliac joint pain.
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