Sacroiliac Joint Inflammation – What you need to know

Published: 02nd December 2008
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Have you been having difficulty sleeping, turning, or bending over lately? Are you constantly plagued by sharp pains in the lower back? If so, you could be suffering from sacroiliac joint inflammation - not exactly something you want to be stuck with over the Christmas holidays.



Now, you might be wondering what the sacroiliac joints even are. They are two 'L-shaped' joints are situated at the lower back, between the pelvic ilium and the sacrum (the small wedge-shaped bone at the bottom of your spine), and are held in place by various muscles and ligaments. Their function is to enable you to move your pelvis - sacroiliac joints get pulled and twisted along the pelvic girdle whenever you move your lower back.



When these joints get infected, they can cause stabbing pains in the lower back, the buttocks, and even the thighs on occasion. This inflammation can occur when one half of the pelvis is constantly driven backwards and forwards, or at times when the joints get stuck.



Mild inflammations of the sacroiliac joints and the surrounding regions are not uncommon, but the more severe forms of sacroiliitis tend to crop up with old age. The most significant causes of sacroiliitis include pregnancy (because the pelvis is forced to expand during labour); trauma or sudden impact injury to the spine or pelvis; and degenerative arthritis, or osteoarthritis of the spine (which deteriorates the sacroiliac joints). But do not fret: it is possible to treat sacroiliitis, just as long as you visit your osteopath and keep an eye out for any early symptoms of the disease.



The main symptoms of sacroiliac joint inflammation are: - Having restricted hip movement (noticeable by having problems turning over in your bed or turning around) - Having a stiff back after long car journeys (or after extended periods of sitting still), or when waking up in the morning - Experiencing problems bending down - Feeling pain during sexual intercourse - Getting a sharp pain in your thighs when moving your legs a certain way (swinging them out of the car or over the bed)



If you find that you have any of these symptoms, it is important that you go see an osteopath, as they will have an in-depth knowledge of the workings of the sacroiliac joint. Here are some things you can try on your own to try and ease some of the pain: - Try sleeping on your side at night (instead of your back or stomach). - Try placing a pillow in between your knees when sitting or lying down. This should take some pressure of the pelvis. - Take an icepack, wrap it in a damp tea towel, and place it on the inflamed region for periods of 10 minutes on and off for half an hour. Do this for up to three times a day.



While sacroiliac joint inflammation can be a real pain in the back, osteopaths can help cure the problem effectively through a combination of physical therapeutic techniques and anti-inflammatory medication. So as long as you visit your osteopath and nurture your body, you should be fit and healthy for the upcoming holiday season.



Andrew Mitchell, editor of Osteopath Network, writes articles about cranial osteopathy, back pain, neck pain and soft tissue injuries. If you are looking for a Milton Keynes osteopath or for an osteopath in the UK please visit his website.

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