The sacroiliac joints (SI joints) are formed by the sacrum and pelvis. The sacrum is like the tailbone at the base of the spine fits in between the tw...
The sacroiliac joints (SI joints) are formed by the sacrum and pelvis. The sacrum is like the tailbone at the base of the spine fits in between the two pelvis bones which are called the iliac bones. This joint is not a highly mobile joint because its role is largely one of providing stability and it is weight bearing in nature. Therefore it is held together by strong ligaments. Because this joint in under a lot of stress it is a common area to experience discomfort in and this is termed SI joint pain.
There are many problems that can arise in this joint and collectively they are referred to as sacroiliac joint dysfunction and lead to SI joint pain. Under this umbrella term you can have SI joint strain, SI joint inflammation and SI joint syndrome. The SI joint is a very important and often overlooked joint in the human body.
The causes of sacroiliac joint dysfunction can be varied. It is prone to degeneration like any other joint in the body, with the wearing away of shock absorbing cartilage. This leads to bones beginning to rub on each other and is termed osteoarthritis. This is likely the most common cause of SI joint pain and problem with most weight bearing joints of the body.
SI joint pain can also be caused by pregnancy. When a woman is pregnant, the body releases hormones that allow the ligaments to relax in preparation for childbirth. This relaxation of the ligaments in the SI joints coupled with the added body-weight can lead to excessive strain. In conjunction the altered walking posture during pregnancy places additional stress on the SI joints.
Also any change or problem in the lower half of the body that disrupts the walking or gait cycle could cause SI joint problems. A leg length discrepancy, where one leg is longer than the other can do this. Also any injury to the lower back, foot, hip, knee or ankle can all result in a abnormal pattern of walking that places undue stress on the SI joints and causes SI joint pain.
Females seem prone to SI joint pain. This could be due to slight anatomical differences in the hips and pelvis. Two aggravating factors are known. Often when females sleep on their sides, the wider hip width means the top thigh drops down a lot. This put extra strain on the SI joint by opening it up. One solution is to sleep with a pillow between your legs and this should help the SI joint pain. Also sitting cross legged does a similar thing. It opens the joint and places uneven stress on it often for prolonged periods. The result is commonly SI joint pain. The solution is simple but may take some getting used to: stop sitting crossed legged.
Physical therapy is highly recommended for prevention of SI joint pain. The use of things like yoga and pilates is largely preventative in nature. Improving flexibility in the body can help restore proper biomechanics and take off undue stress and strain on areas. Plus strengthening the core muscles is vital for proper posture and lifting. Just like anything you do for your health, to gain the benefits you should be regular and long term with your commitment.
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The sacroiliac joints (SI joints)