What is Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction?

SIJ dysfunction occurs when the ligaments that help stabilise the joint between your pelvis and spine are compromised. These ligaments restrict the small amount of movement that occurs in this region, as well as help to reduce forces and loading placed on the area. When they fail to stabilise the region, irritation and inflammation at the joint occurs. This can result in localised pain to the buttocks, sciatic pain, pelvic pain (pudendal neuralgia), groin pain, spasm through the gluteals and hip pain. People with SIJ dysfunction will often report an increase in pain with high-impact activities such as running, hopping and lateral movements. This is because the area is unable to cope with high levels of shearing and loading.

Signs and symptoms of sacroiliac joint dysfunction

Common symptoms will include localised pain to the buttocks region. This will generally be on one side and will travel down the side of your tailbone. Pain can radiate from the buttocks and down the side of the leg (or into your pelvis, scrotum, labia or penis). Additionally, sufferers can experience spasm throughout their gluteal muscles, as well as pain across the base of their lower back.

Aggravating activities can include arching your back, twisting in bed, long car journeys, walking, running,  walking up hills and going downstairs.

What causes sacroiliac joint dysfunction?

SIJ dysfunction is frequently caused by high-impact accidents, including car accidents and general trauma to the area following a fall, hard running, twisting or awkward lifting. Pregnancy, as well as repetitive loading, can also instigate issues throughout the area.

Treatment for sacroiliac joint dysfunction

A physiotherapist skilled in the area of lumbopelvic and hip pain can differentiate sacroiliac pain from other areas that can refer to the region, including the lower back and hip. Your physiotherapist can then design a comprehensive plan of manual therapy to the pelvis and surrounding joints and muscles as needed. This hands-on treatment will be supported with a comprehensive and progressive functional exercise program to build control and dynamic strength through the lumbar spine, pelvis and hips, for everyday life, work and sport.