Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Want to find out more about Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction?

In this blog we explain:

  • Where the sacroiliac joint is in the body
  • What sacroiliac joint dysfunction is
  • How it can be assessed
  • Treatment and pain relief options

If you have more questions by the end of this article, or think you may have sacroiliac joint dysfunction you can reach out to the qualified Brisbane physios at North West Physio here, for a proper assessment and treatment plan.

What is Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction?

To answer this question, let us first explain what the sacroiliac joint is.

The sacroiliac joint (SIJ) is where the sacrum meets both sides of the ileum or pelvis. The two pubic bones meet together at the front of the pelvis at the pubic symphysis joint. The lower spine (L5) sits on top of the sacrum. 

The SIJ does not have a deep socket joint like the hips or shoulders. The two joint surfaces are irregularly shaped. They are held tightly in place with ligaments and fascia. Muscles and tendons on top also make the joints strong.

The SIJ is usually very stable and has very minimal movement.  Exceptions to this can be during pregnancy where the pelvis can expand.  Also, during a fall or car accident the joint can be sheared, usually upwards.

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction occurs when the joints don’t function or move regularly. This  incorrect manoeuvring can lead to inflammation of the area and pain in the lower body.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction Test

Assessment of sacroiliac dysfunction involves looking at posture and symmetry. A history of how the injury happened is also useful.

The pelvis and the sacrum can move in several directions.

  1. They can tilt in a front and back direction (anterior and posterior tilt),
  2. They can rotate right and left (torsion) and
  3. They can tilt side to side (upslip/downslip).

If the pelvis or sacrum are out of alignment then other areas of the body, such as the shoulders or knees, can move to compensate causing more discomfort. 

Do you think you might have SIJ dysfunction?

You can try standing in front of a full-length mirror and follow the below steps.

  1. Place both hands on the top of each pelvis.
  2. Feel if one pelvis is higher than the other.
  3. With the hands in the same place and looking down you can feel if one side of the pelvis is more forward or backwards.

We recommend booking in with one of our North West Physio qualified physiotherapists if you suspect your pelvis and sacrum are out of alignment.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction Treatment

Physiotherapy treatment for SIJ dysfunction may involve:

  • Sacrum or pelvic mobilisation. This can involve a resisted hold for several seconds, repeated several times. The physio will put you in a position and then ask you to resist.
  • Soft tissue release of the ligaments and muscles may also be performed.
  • Strapping around the SIJ can give the area support and stability. If the strapping is helpful then a Serola-type belt can be ordered.

A home exercise program of stretches and strengthening exercises will be given. That program could include:

  • Pelvic tilts
  • Hamstring stretches
  • Squats and
  • Bridges.

We run through how to carry out the above exercises and more in our blog ‘Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction Exercises’. 

Other things to try at home could include an anti-inflammatory such as Nurofen or Voltaren and a hot pack on tight muscles.

Sacroiliac Joint Pain Relief

If physiotherapy and over the counter medication are not enough to relive your pain, the GP may prescribe stronger medication or even a cortisone injection.

It’s important to note that you should see a health professional before beginning any treatment, including pain relief.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Have you got more questions about sacroiliac joint dysfunction? Or would you like to schedule an appointment with the North West Physio team?

Get in touch with us here.

North West Physiotherapy is your one-stop pain relief and healthy living practice in Brisbane. With four clinics across North Brisbane; Everton ParkKeperra, Eatons Hill and Nundah our aim is to provide holistic healthcare solution to suit your specific lifestyle. 

Our services include Physiotherapy, Sports PhysioHydrotherapyPilates, PodiatryDry NeedlingMassageWomens Health, and Seniors Strength and Balance Classes. Please note that services vary across our clinics. 

Appointments available 6am – 7:30pm Monday to Friday, and 8am – 12:30pm on Saturdays. Book online here or call us on 07 3353 4111.