Most Common Causes of SI Joint Pain


What are the Sacroiliac or SI joints?


The Sacroiliac joints are the 2 joints large joints where the pelvis connects to the spine.  Typically, there is very little movement at these joints.  They are generally very stable joints that support the weight of the body.  During pregnancy, a woman's body releases hormones to relax the tissue around the SI joints to allow the pelvis to expand in preparation for the birthing process.  

SI Joint AnatomySI Joint Pain

What are the Causes of SI Joint Pain?

Since the SI joints are typically very stable, they are not easily injured.  However, studies show that the SI joint may be responsible for low back and buttocks pain in up to 30% of patients.   SI joint pain may originate from a specific trauma such as a fall or a car accident in which the knee hits the dash board and the force is transferred thought the thigh to the SI joint.  SI joint pain may also occur during or after pregnancy due to the physiological changes that happen during the pregnancy and birthing process.

How Painful is SI Joint Pain?

The Sacroiliac joint contains a vast number of pain receptors which transmit pain signals to the brain.  Thus, irritation of the SI joint can cause severe pain.  It is important to manage your pain with the use of modalities like ice, heat and e-stim. 


How do I Know if My Pain is SI Joint Pain?

Pain from the SI joint is typically localized around the Sacroiliac joint.  Pain can radiate in to the buttocks and leg.  The SI joint is in close proximity to the lowest lumbar spine facet joint.  Pain in the lower spine is frequently mistaken for SI joint pain due to the location.  Lumbar spine issues are more common than SI joint problems, so it may be beneficial to seek medical advise to determine the source of the pain.


How Long does SI Joint Pain Last?

Most of the time, Low back pain /SI joint pain last about 6 to 10 weeks.  The time may vary though, depending on the severity of the issue and general health and conditioning.  If SI joint pain is due to instability after pregnancy, an SI belt may be ordered by a physician to provide external support and control pain.


How Can I Treat SI Joint Pain at Home?

True SI joint pain can be difficult to treat at home because there are no specific muscles that only cross the SI joint.  Gentle movement exercises may help calm symptoms.  Try laying on the back and pulling the knees to the chest for 10 seconds about 3 times.  If pain increases, stop immediately.  If pain persists, it is best to see a physician and/or physical therapist to determine the best course of treatment.

The Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute has specialists with decades of experience treating sacroiliac joint disorders.  With world-class surgeons, physiatrists, and physical therapy, the team at JOI has the answers for you!  For Physical Therapy appointments at JOI Rehab, please call 904-858-7045.  Whether you're a linebacker for the Jacksonville Jaguars or an Average Joe... we'll treat you like a Pro!! Come see us!  

Related Articles: Sciatic Nerve Stretches, Piriformis Syndrome, and Sciatic Nerve Pain.

JOI Fracture and Injury Care

JOI MD's currently offer ASAP fracture and soft tissue injury care for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000.


By: Ehren Allen, PT, COMT



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