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5 Signs Your Lower Back Pain Is From Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

5 Signs Your Lower Back Pain Is From Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

The sacroiliac (SI) joint is adjacent to the iliac section of the pelvic bone and the tailbone, and you have one on both sides of your spine. The joints serve as a shock absorber for the spine, transferring the force of your upper body to your hips and legs. They’re small, immobile joints connected to strong ligaments. 

SI joint disorders are a common cause of low back pain. In fact, SI joint dysfunction can cause sacroiliitis, an inflammatory condition. If you’re dealing with persistent low back pain, it’s wise to schedule a visit with a spine specialist for an accurate diagnosis and expert treatment. 

Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Thomas Jones II, MD, diagnoses and treats a full range of spine conditions at The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas in Pearland and Lake Jackson, Texas. You’re in highly capable hands with Dr. Jones, Beverly Oguayo, FNP-C, and our team of skilled professionals.

We work to determine the precise cause of your lower back pain and recommend the most appropriate approach to helping you get relief. SI joint dysfunction causes some distinct symptoms. Here are five of the top signs that point to an SI joint problem.

1. You feel sharp pain in your lower back and hips

If an SI joint is responsible for your pain, you'll likely experience a sharp, stabbing pain in your lower back and hips. This pain is typically pinpointed and can often be traced directly to the area of the SI joints. It might radiate outward, extending to the buttocks and thighs, but it starts at the SI joints, providing a clue of the culprit.

2. Your pain increases with certain movements or positions

Certain movements aggravate pain with SI joint dysfunction. If standing up from a seated position, climbing stairs, or even turning over in bed causes a spike in your lower back pain, the SI joints could be the source. These movements put additional stress on the SI joints, leading to increased pain when they aren’t functioning properly.

3. You notice uneven leg lengths

An often surprising sign of SI joint dysfunction is the sensation or appearance of having uneven leg lengths. This doesn't mean your legs have physically changed in size. Instead, the dysfunction in the SI joint can cause a tilt in your pelvis, making it seem as though one leg is shorter than the other.

This imbalance can contribute to the pain you're experiencing, and it’s a sign that your SI joints may be involved.

4. You experience stiffness or a burning sensation in the pelvis

Stiffness in your lower back and pelvis, especially in the morning or after periods of inactivity, is a classic of SI joint dysfunction. You may also experience a burning sensation in the pelvis, which distinguishes the discomfort from the usual muscle or ligament strain. This stiffness and burning are your body's response to the inflammation and dysfunction within the SI joints.

5. Your pain decreases with rest

Unlike other conditions that might cause lower back pain, SI joint dysfunction often improves with rest. If you find that lying down relieves the pain, it's a clue that your SI joints might be the issue. Activities that put less stress on the joints, such as lying on your back or side, can provide temporary relief, which points to the source of the discomfort.

If you have any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to consult with a health care provider. As a spine specialist with extensive experience, Dr. Jones can provide an accurate diagnosis. Dr. Jones may perform specific tests or order imaging studies to confirm SI joint dysfunction. 

Fortunately, once identified, there are effective treatments available for SI joint dysfunction, ranging from physical therapy to injections or surgery, depending on the severity of the dysfunction. 

Early intervention can prevent further complications and help manage the pain. The first step is to schedule a consultation. Contact us at The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas to get started.

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