What is The SI Joint?
By: Matt Niesen, ATC
The quick answer is the sacroiliac joint (SI joint, or SIJ) is next to the bottom of the spine, below the lumbar spine and above the tailbone (coccyx). The SI joint is small, yet very strong. It is reinforced by several ligaments that provide stability. Thus there is minimal motion at this joint. The main job is to carry the weight of the upper body when you stand or walk. This is why SI Joint Dysfunction can be debilitating.
Image of Women with SI Joint Dysfunction
How Does it Happen?
While it is still not clear how the pain starts with SI joint dysfunction, it is thought to be due to an altered motion in the SI joint itself. The source of the pain can be caused by either too much movement (hypermobility or instability) or too little movement (hypomobility or fixation).
SI Joint Anatomy
5 Ways to Treat Your SI Joint Dysfunction:
- Rest from Activities - The first option is to simply rest from the activities causing pain/inflammation. Your doctor will most likely prescribe over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication or non-steroidal anti-inflammatories initially.
- Physical Therapy - If indicated, your doctor may prescribe physical therapy to improve strength and flexibility. Your therapist may utilize modalities like ultrasound, heat, cold treatments, laser therapy and massage. These therapies have been proven to help find the cause of your pain and correct it.
- Injections - Your physician may choose to do injections for pain management in this SI Joint area and musculature. Your doctor may also recommend a cortisone injection to help rid of inflammation within the joint.
- Massage Therapy - Medical massage therapy in conjunction with physical therapy can certainly help with the treatment of SI Joint pain. The goal would be to decrease the spasms and soft tissue dysfunction of the related muscles and tendons. JOI Rehab offers massage at several locations.
- Acupuncture and Dry Needling - Many patients get relief of their SI Joint pain with these two treatment techniques. JOI Rehab offers both of these services.
For physical therapy appointments, please call JOI Rehab at 904-858-7045.
If you feel you may suffer from SI Joint Dysfunction, or another low back condition, visit JOIonline.net, or call 904-JOI-2000 to schedule an appointment, schedule online or click below to schedule with one of our Back and Neck Orthopedic Physicians.