The SI joint may start giving you pain if it becomes unstable. A variety of causes my contribute to the instability of the SI joint.
Potential SI Joint Pain Causes
Potential causes of SI joint dysfunction include degenerative sacroiliitis or SI joint disruption.
If the motion in your pelvis is asymmetric, then problems can occur in your SI joint. You could have asymmetric motion if your legs are significantly different in length or one leg is weaker than the other. These biomechanical conditions, or even wearing inappropriate footwear, can alter your gait and cause repetitive stress to your sacroiliac joints and related structures.
More than half the time SI joint pain can be related to a specific event, often an injury.
Pregnancy and giving birth can also contribute to SI joint pain. That's called post-partum pelvic girdle pain.
How SI Joint Pain Happens
The SI joint is a synovial joint. This type of joint has free nerve endings that can cause pain if the joint degenerates, does not move properly, or does not properly accommodate the forces that cross the joint.
The SI joint has been long known to cause pain in the lower back and buttocks. Like any other joint in the body, the SI joint can become arthritic or its supporting ligaments may be injured. When this happens, people can feel pain in their back, especially with lifting, running or even walking. In these cases, the pain is sometimes similar to the pain caused by a “disc” or spinal arthritis.
Many people have pain that worsens over time. It is difficult to directly relate any single specific functional difficulty (including walking, sitting, standing, sleeping on the affected side, job activity, bowel movements, cough, sneeze, etc.) to the SI joint as a source of pain.
Need More Help?
More Related Resources
Here's a quiz to determine whether your SI joint is a contributor to pain in your lower back, pelvic region, buttocks, or legs.
More links and information regarding the diagnosis and treatment of SI Joint Pain:
What's Included in a Physical Therapist Assessment for SI Joint Pain?
All physical therapists have different approaches to therapy, and there is no one best practice for physical therapists that treat SI joint dysfunction. Your physical therapist will likely create an individualized plan based on your health history.