What is the Sacroiliac Joint, and why does it hurt?
At the bottom of your spine, where your back joins up with your pelvis, there are two very important joints called the sacroiliac or SI joints. These joints allow the force created in your legs to move up into your body so you can walk, bend, lift – basically they are involved in every movement you do while upright. However, when something goes wrong and the joint gets injured, every one of those movements becomes a painful struggle.
Where is my SI joint?
- If you feel on your back, at your belt-line, you can find a bump on either side about two to three inches off center. Those bumps are the top of the SI joint, which continues south for about four inches.
What does it do?
- They don’t move very far, but even the few millimeters of motion is crucial. When you are walking they need to alternately become compressed, then release in a complicated figure eight pattern involving both sides and the upper and lower parts of the joint. If one side is injured or the muscles around it are in spasm, the other side needs to do double duty to get you around.
Mine hurts, what do I do?
- When these joints get injured, maybe from sitting in an uncomfortable position too long (see below), just being pregnant, or taking a wrong step off a curb, the pain can be felt in the back, into the butt or even around the front of the thigh. Thankfully, they respond well to adjustments, but you can start with some ice to help reduce some of the painful inflammation. See some lower back stretches here.
Prevention of the tension
- As you might have figured out, these joints are intimately associated with “the core” we are always trying to affect while exercising. Core exercises, like physioball work, balance and abdominal exercises can keep your SI joints flexible and reduce the chance of spraining this centerpiece of all human movement!
This can be a hard area to stretch since there is not much motion in the joint to begin with. Here is the best stretch I recommend for a little relief when the sacroiliac joint is really irritated. Cross the other leg over the leg on the affected side, and relax forward. Hold that position for 10-15 seconds, then stop. Be gentle. You are trying to wring inflammation out of the muscles and joints in the lower back, not pull something apart. Also, ice for 20 minutes at a time is always my favorite anti-inflammatory for joint pain.
Make an Appointment
If you have lower back pain and are in the Norwalk, CT area, we would be happy to help figure out what is wrong, and come up with a plan to get you back to life. Contact us with any questions or click to below to make an appointment today.