The SacroIliac joint is the joint that attaches the spine via the Sacrum to the pelvis. It is a joint with cartilage much in the same way as the hip or knee.
This joint also demonstrates movement in all directions, and the Sacroiliac joint and its surrounding areas has a lot of nerves, which help transmit pain.
The Sacroiliac Joint – What it Does
Like any joint it provides protection to deeper organs, however it mainly is there to provide a small amount of movement and stability to the pelvic area.
It is a rather immovable joint. In women its mobility increases during pregnancy to allow the passage of a baby, which helps open up the pelvis during childbirth, it is otherwise rather an immovable joint in many cases fusing in the third to fourth decade.
The Sacroiliac joint can become diseased in a condition called Sacroileitis which can herald on the onset of a condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis. There is a 13-30% incidence of Sacroiliac pain in patients with low back pain. In this condition the ligaments around the spine calcify and eventually fuse causing the back to be a rigid structure with very little movement.
The Sacroiliac joint is a significant source of pain after lumbar fusion. In fact around 40% of pain after a spinal fusion is felt in this area.
This is thought to come about because sometimes the diagnosis of Sacroiliac joint is missed! After a fusion more strain is put upon the Sacroiliac Joint which then becomes symptomatic. The diagnosis of Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is often missed
There is an equivalence in Sacroiliac joint dysfunction to hip Osteoarthritis, Spinal Stenosis, Knee Osteoarthrits and Chronic depression
SacroIliac pain can frequently refer into the groin, but also to the side of the leg, and occasionally down the back of the leg, as in Sciatica
This sometimes makes diagnosing Sacroiliac patterns difficult as low back pain and leg pain often overlap.
However with a good Osteopathic examination it is relatively straightforward to diagnose whether pain is coming from this joint.
If you have back pain then in Osteopathic practice it is possible to differentiate between back pain and Sacroiliac pain and once this is done and the diagnosis is clear then a treatment plan can be initiated.
The joint is large and is usually quite stiff and sometimes difficult on which to use manipulative treatment.
Stretches can be made to the joint and the first choice is to use Osteopathy where manipulative treatment is utilized to stretch the joint, which helps return it to normal function which in turns helps reduce any inflammatory changes.
Many cases Acupuncture can also be used when manipulation has proven to be ineffective. Acupuncture in turn can help stimulate blood flow and in its own right helps reduce pain. Both treatments are often used in combination and the good news is that symptoms usually quickly recover with this treatment.