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Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction – Philadelphia Main Line & Narberth Physical Therapy

What is Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction?

If you have pain in your low back after sitting for a period, it could be caused by sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Pain caused by the SI joint could be dull or sharp. It usually starts at your SI joint, but it can move to your buttocks, thighs, groin, or upper back. Sometimes standing up triggers the pain, and a lot of times you feel it only on one side of your lower back. You may notice that it bothers you more in the morning and gets better during the day. (Source: WebMD)

What is the Sacroiliac Joint?

The sacroiliac (SI) joints are formed by the connection of the sacrum and the right and left iliac bones, also known as your hip bones. The sacrum is the triangular-shaped bone in the lower portion of the spine, centrally located below the lumbar spine.  As a result, the SI joints connect the spine to the pelvis through a strong collection of strong ligaments. (Source:

What causes SI Joint Pain?

Many people can develop issues in the sacroiliac joint from anything from improper posture, pregnancy, injuries or falls and missteps.

If your SI joint is locking up, that means that the sacrum and the illium can’t disassociate from each other properly. If your SI joint is too lose, it means you don’t have enough stability around the SI joint.

Common symptoms include:

  • *Low back pain, typically one-sided and usually around the boney prominence in the back of the low back
  • *Pain in the butt or pelvis
  • *Hip and groin pain
  • *Feeling of the leg buckling or giving way
  • *Pain with sitting for long periods of time
  • *Pain with sitting to standing
  • *Pain with rolling over
  • *Pain with going up and down the stairs
  • *Pain with walking for longer periods
  • *Tingling and possible numbness in the back of the leg.
  • *Pain typically that doesn’t go below the knee, but sometimes it does extend to the foot
  • *Pain with sleeping

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and SI Joint Pain

The iliac bones connect to the sacrum in the back, and they meet in the front to form the pubic symphysis. The pelvic floor attaches to both the pubic symphysis and the tailbone, which connects the the bottom of the sacrum.

Because the pelvic floor muscles are connected to all three bones of the pelvis on the inside, any issues regarding weakness or tightness of the pelvic floor will affect the alignment of all three of these bones.

Sacroiliac joint pain could either be a cause or a symptom of pelvic floor dysfunction. Other symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction include:

Other conditions that might be associated with SI joint pain include:

  •  *Sciatica
  • *Pelvic floor dysfunction or weakness
  • *Lumbar herniated disc
  • *Osteoarthritis of the spine
  • *Pubic symphysis pain
  • *Hip conditions including, hip osteoarthritis, hip labral issues,
  • *Knee issues

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction and Alignment

Any type of imbalance around any of the pelvic muscles, either internally with the pelvic floor or externally with the hip and low back muscles, could cause pain. If the muscles are imbalanced, they’ll play a tug-of-war with each other and because muscles are connected to the pelvis, this tug-of-war can pull the pelvis one way.

Imbalance between weakness and tightness will create a change in the alignment of that joint. When the joint isn’t aligned properly it can create friction in the joint so that it doesn’t move properly.

Myofascial restrictions can further contribute to the imbalance and alignment of the joint, as well as trigger points within different groups of muscles that attach to the pelvis.

Treating Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Our goal is to balance all the musculature to reduce muscle tension and myofascial restrictions, which will help to settle the pelvis into better alignment. After the pelvis is well-aligned, we retrain the muscles in a particular sequence so that they’re all firing correctly.

Call our physical therapists on the Philadelphia Main Line and Center City for treatment scheduling!

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