Sacroiliac Joint Pain

19 Oct, 2020

Sacroiliac joint (SIJ) pain is a term used to describe the signs and symptoms that are linked to the SIJ and often comes under the banner of Pelvic Girdle Pain. 

Pain from the SIJ often arises from a traumatic incident that has caused a shear force through the joint, placing the ligaments on strain around the joint, as well as during and after pregnancy. Hormones are released in a pregnant woman which allows for the stretching of ligaments to make more room for the growing baby. Also, during pregnancy, the biomechanics of the SIJ alter and can put the ligaments under more stress causing pain through the joint. 

What is the Sacroiliac joint?

Two SIJs in the human body sit on either side of the spine between the sacrum, which is the triangular bone of the spine and the pelvis. Unlike our shoulder, the SIJ has minimal movement (only up to 1.2mm!), which makes it a vital joint for the transmission of force coming down through our spine and up through our legs. 

The stability of the joint is related to two important factors – the form closure and the force closure. The form closure refers to the close-fitting joint surfaces as well as the ligaments sitting over the joint. The force closure refers to the extra forces that are needed to keep the joint in place – the muscles! No muscles directly attach to the SIJ; however, many overlie the area – Latissimus dorsi, Gluteus Maximums, Hip Adductors, Internal and external obliques, gluteus medius/minimus and hamstrings. 

Signs and Symptoms of SIJ Pain

  • Pain in the pelvic region
  • Pain turning in bed 
  • Pain while walking and taking the first few steps 
  • Pain with sit to stand and climbing/descending stairs 
  • Limited standing and walking time 

The importance of Physiotherapy for SIJ Pain 

As SIJ can feel similar to lower back pain, it is important to have a thorough assessment completed by a physiotherapist. To diagnose for SIJ pain, your physiotherapist will perform provocation tests which will replicate the symptoms you have been feeling. We will also observe functional postures, such as standing, walking and weight transfer to stand on one leg. 

To manage the SIJ pain, your physiotherapist will provide advice and education regarding relevant information about the anatomy and biomechanics of the joint, how to modify certain aggravating factors, likely prognosis and education about your treatment plan. The treatment can also include hands-on therapy such as soft tissue massage and muscle energy techniques to help improve pain. As the SIJ has many surrounding muscles, exercises are crucial for long term management. They will also be prescribed in an individualised and targeted way to improve strength around the joint. 


What to do now?

If you or someone you know are suffering from SIJ pain, give us a call at Gen Physio, we have a friendly team of professionals that are dedicated to changing the lives of our clients. All of our clinicians are mobile and come to your own home to conduct an examination. Give us a call on 1300 122 884 to book a consultation today.

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