The Sacroiliac joint(SIJ) is an often overlooked source of lower back pain and sciatica. In fact it has been documented as being the cause of 15% of all low back pain, and contributing to a further 23%. The SIJ consists of three bones, the two ilial bones that constitute the pelvis, and the sacrum – a triangular shaped bone at the base of your spine, commonly called the tail bone. The joint is fibrous and as such has a restricted amount of movement, this is however essential in the normal movement patterns of the lower spine and limbs.
Restriction/stiffness or abnormal movement of the SIJ can cause pain and stiffness, contribute to joint irritation in the lumbar spine, and can also be a major source of sciatica. Common reasons for SIJ dysfunction include; trauma (e.g. a traffic accident), muscle imbalances (e.g. weakness around the gluteal muscles), pregnancy (due to laxity of the ligaments around the pelvis during pregnancy), and poor core stability (deep postural muscles that stabilise the pelvic area).
Signs of SIJ dysfunction: Discomfort whilst sitting – having to constantly shift weight, discomfort rolling in bed, discomfort getting into and out of the car, and pain on lifting and bending.
Treatment: This will involves a tailored exercise regime to restore muscle imbalances and specific manual therapy techniques to restore the alignment of the SIJ and pelvis.