Your back pain is a mystery. It flares up, then dies down but lately, it’s been getting worse. But the problem may not originate in the lower back, itself. Something else – something a little more esoteric – may be at work.
The sacroiliac joint is often overlooked as the source of lower back pain, but the truth is that it’s the root cause of 15 to 30% of lower back pain cases.
This overlooked pelvis problem might be causing your lower back pain.
About the SI Joint
Where your spine connects to the pelvis, there’s an SI joint on either side.
SI joints tend to be robust and they need to be. Supporting the full weight of your upper body, they act as buffers, transferring energy from the upper portion of your body to your legs and pelvis. When you bend from the waist, they’re what supports the movement.
Walking up stairs or rising from a chair are actions which place stress on the SI joints and like everything else in your body, they’re subject to wear and tear. Too much or too little movement in the joints creates dysfunction which can lead to pain.
Symptoms of problems originating in the SI joints are:
- A dull ache on one side in the lower back
- Pain in the lower back when bending, getting out of bed, or getting out of a car
- Pain radiating down the back of the thigh (much like sciatica)
- Pain that appears to be localized in the hips
While pain from SI join problems may manifest on both sides of the body, it’s far more common for only one side to be affected (again, much like sciatica).
The people most commonly affected by SI joint pain are women who are either younger or in their middle years. Pregnant women and those who have just given birth may also suffer from SI joint dysfunction.
Diagnosis is best sought in the office of a medical specialist like an osteopath, physiatrist or physical therapist. Diagnostics used for this purpose may be one or all of the following:
- Sacral thrust: as the patient lies face down, pressure is applied to the back of the hips
- Distraction: as the patient lies face up, pressure is applied to the front of the hips
- Faber: the patient lies face up, with one leg bent at the knee, resting the ankle on the other thigh. In this position, the bent knee is gently pushed down and out.
Pain from any of these diagnostics may indicate SI joint dysfunction. Further imaging diagnostics may be applied if there is still no clear diagnosis. While they can’t detect SI problems, they can pinpoint other anomalies which may be producing the pain.
If you’re experiencing pain in the lower back and legs which persists for more than 2 weeks, it’s imperative that you seek medical support as soon as possible.
Spine Consult NJ
Is you’re experiencing lower back pain, Spine Consult NJ is your source for comprehensive care. Contact us.