Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is one of the many causes of lower back pain. This joint is not designed for a lot of movement, and it actually “locks” as one ages. Pain can be a result of injury, such as a direct fall, an auto accident, or a blow to the pelvis. This can strain the ligaments around the joint, resulting in too much movement around the joint. The excessive movement can lead to wear and tear on the joint. As one ages, these joints can become arthritic if predisposed to osteoarthritis. Symptoms may include mild to severe low back pain, pain in the buttocks, deep in the pelvis, the hip, groin, or back of the thigh. Pain often radiates down the leg. The lower back may also feel stiff. Activities that may increase pain are walking, twisting, bending, stooping, rolling over in bed, getting up from a chair, climbing steps, coughing, and sneezing.
Physical Therapy Treatment Plan: After careful evaluation by the physical therapist, the first step in treating this condition is to determine if the joint needs stabilized or mobilized. If the joint appears too stiff or locked, it may need more movement to function properly. However, just the opposite, reducing movement, may reduce pain, especially when arthritis is present.
Mobilization techniques may include manipulation and exercises by the physical therapist to loosen the joint ligaments. Stabilizing the joint may include muscle strengthening and pelvic exercises to reduce the gliding of the joint. The therapist may also include ultrasound, electric stimulation, massage, and heat therapies to relieve the muscle spasms.
After your initial prescription for physical therapy is completed, your physician and physical therapist will decide if you need to continue physical therapy or if you will be discharged to a home exercise program.
This information is provided as a learning resource for the benefit of our patients. It is NOT INTENDED to replace personal consultation with your medical professionals.