By Duke Autret
Pain across the very base of your spine where your hips and lower back meet is very common. You can often pinpoint the pain as starting from "those two dimples at the lower back" and spreading out across the sides of the hips. Those two dimples, which aren't always visible on everyone, are where the back and hip join - specifically where the sacrum bone joins the iliac crest of the pelvis. This joint is called the Sacroiliac Joint.
Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ) Dysfunction is an often used term to describe any issue that arises from some kind of problem at this joint, usually leading to the joint becoming inflamed, and which can commonly have subsequent implications such as sciatic pain (pain running down the leg) and/or pain from muscle spasms usually at the lower back and/or around the hip/s.
One reason for this is that the inflammation at the site of the Sacroiliac Joint may irritate the sciatic nerve much in the same way as a spinal disc problem can, although rather than perhaps a bulging intervertebral disc impinging on the sciatic nerve, instead it can be the chemical irritation and/or the pressure and compression caused by the swelling and inflammation of locals tissues and fluids.
Then due to pain and irritation from the inflammation, a pain cycle may set in, with muscles spasming and tightening up in response. Our bodies are pretty marvellous in the way they try to protect us from a perceived problem, and that protection usually comes in the way of tensing, tightening or spasming. Consider if you were going to be punched in the gut, the first thing your body will naturally do before you probably even think about it is to tense your abdominals, draw in the arms and shoulders, and crunch forward in a protected position to lessen the blow. The SIJ does a similar process to try to protect around the joint area, which can lead to that persisting pain.
Typically, an SIJ issue will present on just one side at a time, although it can be possible for the symptomatic side to swap from one side to the other, as when one SIJ is dysfunctional then the adjacent SIJ compensates and is therefore implicated.
The good news is that you can get treatment for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction! Treatments we can provide to help when someone comes to us in an acute phase will revolve around ways of decreasing the muscle spasm and pain to the hip, pelvis and spinal regions, and to also advise you on the best ways to manage the joint inflammation itself and ‘deload’ the structures involved. The initial stages of the treatment are likely to involve some soft tissue work like remedial massage, myofascial release, cupping or dry needling, and can also involve taping the SIJ to support that area and give those really hard working muscles a chance for a break without leaving that joint feeling vulnerable.
Then once these initial symptoms are under control we will guide you towards how to regain and develop the stability, mobility and control to the specific areas needed, which are likely to include the thigh muscles and the deep muscles of the trunk, abdominals, and back.
Outside of any hands on treatments the lasting success of reversing this type of condition will depend also on the empowerment of you. We will advise you on the best rehab routine and provide a layered program over time so that you can progress at the right pace and without worrying about being overloaded with homework. Or alternatively, we can refer you to connect with local practitioners or instructors in clinical exercise or other modalities like yoga for example if you prefer or if help with motivation and supervision is what you need.
Personally I enjoy working with SIJ pain since I used to suffer from a lot of it myself (and know how difficult it can be) and because I’ve learned how to best deal with it, to the point where I no longer suffer from this anymore. This has been a worthy investment for me and also a gift. I hope to share this with those who need it too.
If you’d like to start down the road of finding ways to improve your own challenges with an SIJ issue, I am here to help. Just call or leave a message with us at the Simple Wellness Myotherapy clinic here in Rowville, our number is 03 8204 0970, or alternatively you can visit our website to see our booking schedule and make an appointment for yourself at a time that best suits you.
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