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Low back stiffness – Sacroiliac joint

| By Dr Debbie Tan (Chiropractor)

 

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Quite frequently, clients who pay a visit to a chiropractor complain of low back stiffness. They describe the stiffness as a ‘stuck’ joint feeling, sometimes a deep ache and at time can be painful. One of the reasons that this may occur is a syndrome called SI syndrome.

SI stands for the sacroiliac joint, which is where the sacrum attaches to the ilium in the pelvis.1 Although we know the root of the problem with SI syndrome, literature still is unable to determine the exact cause of the syndrome.2,3 Degenerative changes, hormonal change, leg length discrepancies, physical trauma, postural habits are likely to contribute to SI syndrome, however have not been identified as the sole cause.2,3 Pregnant women also may experience SI syndrome, as the hormone relaxin allows widespread ligament laxity in all the joints during pregnancy and 3 months after birth.2,3,4

The SI joint itself is not a typical joint, as its stability relies heavily on the ligaments around it.5 Hence, it is very susceptible to injury, even from the most minor of traumas – such as long time sitting in a car trip, pregnancy, sleeping oddly and poor posture.

Pain over this joint is common. This pain can also refer to the groin, buttocks, back of the thigh, and to a lesser extent, below the knee and down to the foot.6 They usually only occur one side at a time and are worse when getting up from a sitting position.7 Physical activity helps the stiffness and pain.8

Treatment for a standard SI joint syndrome is quite common in our office. It usually involves manipulation, mobilisation of the joint, rehabilitation stretches for the surrounding muscles and even postural support – through belts, taping and exercises.8,9,10,11 We highly recommend patients with SI joint syndrome to visit a chiropractor as they may be able to relieve the pain symptoms and improve the condition.

For more information on SI joint syndrome, please contact us on the above links.

  1. Ouellet JA, Arlet V. Surgical anatomy of the pelvis, sacrum, and lumbar spine relevant to spinal surgery. Semin Spine Surg. 2004;16(2):91-100. doi:10.1053/j.semss.2004.07.008
  1. Krawczyk-Wasielewska A, Skorupska E, Mojs E, Malak R, Keczmer P, Kalmus P, et al. Sacroiliac joint syndrome – description of pain etiology. Eur Sci J [serial online]. 2014 [2016 Jul 30];3 SE:170. Available from Academic OneFile. http://find.galegroup.com
  2. Darwich AA, Diwan SA. Management of back pain in pregnancy. Tech Reg Anesth Pain Manag. 2009;13(4):251-4. doi:10.1053/j.trap.2009.06.017
  3. Sipko T, Grygier D, Barczyk K, Eliasz G. The Occurrence of Strain Symptoms in the Lumbosacral Region and Pelvis During Pregnancy and After Childbirth. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2010;33(5):370-7. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2010.05.006
  4. Vleeming A, Schuenke MD, Masi AT, Carreiro JE, Danneels L, Willard FH. The sacroiliac joint: an overview of its anatomy, function and potential clinical implications. J Anat. 2012;221(6):537-67. doi:  10.1111/j.1469-7580.2012.01564.x
  5. Slipman CW, Jackson HB, Lipetz JS, Chan KT, Lenrow D, Vresilovic EH. Sacroiliac joint pain referral zones. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2000;81(3):334-8. doi:10.1016/S0003-9993(00)90080-7
  6. Lataster A, Vanelderen P, Witte J, Szadek KM, Patijn J, Mekhail N, et al. 13. Sacroiliac joint pain. Pain Pract. 2010;10(5):470-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1533-2500.2010.00394.x
  7. Eijs F, de Bont J, Verwer K, den Oudsten BL, Jenniskens H, Woudenberg NP, et al. Treatment of the sacroiliac joint in patients with leg pain: A randomized-controlled trial. Eur Spine J [serial online]. 2013 [2016 Jul 30];22(10):2310-7. Available from: ProQuest. http://search.proquest.com
  8. Lee J, Yoo W. Application of posterior pelvic tilt taping for the treatment of chronic low back pain with sacroiliac joint dysfunction and increased sacral horizontal angle. Phys Ther Sport. 2012;13(4):279-85. doi:
    http://0-dx.doi.org.prospero.murdoch.edu.au/10.1016/j.ptsp.2011.10.003
  9. van Eijs F, de Bont J, Verwer K, den Oudsten BL, Jenniskens H, Woudenberg NP, et al. Treatment of the sacroiliac joint in patients with leg pain: A randomized-controlled trial. Eur Spine J [serial online]. 2013 [2016 Jul 30];22(10):2310-7. Available from: ProQuest. http://search.proquest.com
  10. Hamidi-Ravari B, Tafazoli S, Chen H, Perret D. Diagnosis and Current Treatments for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction: A Review. Curr Phys Med Rehabil Rep. 2014;2(1):48-54. doi: 10.1007/s40141-013-0037-7
  11. Prather H, Hunt D. Sacroiliac joint pain. Dis Mon. 2004;50(12):670-83. doi:10.1016/j.disamonth.2004.12.004

Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should contact your own physician or other qualified health can provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it based on information from this content. Relying on information provided by this content is done at your own risk. Although the authors have made every effort to provide the most up-to-date evidence-based health information, this content should not necessarily be considered the standard of care and may not reflect individual practices in other geographic locations.

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Category: Spine Care