Sacroiliac joint pain is a commonly misdiagnosed condition that causes pain in the lower back and buttocks region. Its symptoms are similar to several other hip and pelvic conditions, such as radicular pain or piriformis syndrome. Knowing how to differentiate sacroiliac joint pain from similar conditions is essential to providing the right treatment plan.

The sacroiliac (SI) joints are located on either side of the spine, in between each of the pelvic bones where they attach to the sacrum. It connects the spine to the lower extremities, serving as both a shock absorber and as a tool to transfer energy from the lower extremities to the upper body.

Problems with the SI joint are a common cause for lower back pain in the average person, causing roughly 10-25% of all lower back pain. Most people who suffer from SI pain are adults.

With athletes putting even higher loads of activity on their sacroiliac joint, we often see this in our sports clinic. The biomechanics of rowing and cross-country skiing put particular strain on the SI joints. It is also possible for an athlete to hurt their SI joint during play from direct trauma to the ligaments surrounding the joint.
We can distinguish SI joint pain from other causes of lower back and pelvic pain by looking carefully at the symptoms.


Common symptoms to look for are lower back and thigh pain that increases after sitting in one position for too long, local tenderness at the SI joint, a hyper or hypo-mobile SI joint, or increased pain when the joint is stressed.

In order to determine whether you have SI pain versus another condition with similar symptoms, we will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your symptoms, range of motion, and personal history. There are several tests that we can conduct during a physical examination that will help us diagnose SI pain.

Once the diagnosis is definite, we can move on to treatment. At MOTUS, we look at the big picture rather than the specific injury alone, so treatment plans are developed in a way that will target the source of the problem. We will improve your stability and mobility with exercise therapy and manual therapy. We will also encourage you to follow a regular exercise program that will help keep your SI joint flexible and in a healthy condition. In almost all cases, learning the proper posture and techniques for your sport can help you protect yourself from further SI joint irritation.


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