Is your sacroiliitis (SI) a pain in the butt?

For those of you who have sacroiliitis, or sacroiliac (SI) joint pain, you know from experience that it is literally a pain in the butt. In fact, the odds are good that you probably injured your SI joint by falling on your rear end. All puns aside, what is it and what can you do to relieve the pain?

If you suffer from back pain, there’s a chance you may have sacroiliitis– a 22.5 percent chance, to be exact. Sacroiliitis is pain that comes from your SI joint that connects the bottoms of your spine, the sacrum, with your hip bone. Sometimes the pain is brought on by age, but most of the time, it starts because of an injury.

Common causes of sacroiliitis:

  • A bad fall
  • Lumbar fusion
  • Uneven legs or pelvis
  • Pregnancy
  • Degenerative sacroiliitis

You may also have SI joint pain if you are experiencing some of these symptoms:

  • Your low back has a dull ache
  • Pain that reaches to your groin or thigh
  • Lying on the hurt side is painful
  • Pain level increases when you walk up stairs or hills

Living with SI joint pain can be difficult. It can make the simplest of tasks seem difficult. So how do you get yourself through the day? Check out these tips to help lessen your SI joint pain.

Invest in some gel packs. Gel packs are great to have around the house because you can heat them up or toss them in the freezer to cool them down. Heat and cold therapy is a great way to ease muscle tension and inflammation. The cold helps to reduce the inflammation while the heat works to alleviate sore muscles. As you go through your day, try to take a 30-minute midday break for some heat or cold therapy.

Pad your ride. Riding in a bumpy car can make you cringe in almost unbearable pain. Before you hop in the car, grab some pillows for the ride. Position the pillows on either side of your hips to act as shock absorbers.

See a physical therapist. The best thing you can do for your SI joint pain is to keep moving; staying stagnant throughout the day will actually increase your pain, not reduce it. Visit a physical therapist to determine what types of exercises you should perform to help strengthen your core muscles. Remember, if an exercise causes pain, stop immediately and discontinue in the future.

Most people with SI joint pain never need surgery. If the pain is severe enough, your physician may suggest that you consider some sort of pain management such as a joint injection. If after several weeks or months of conservative treatment you have no pain relief, surgery may be suggested.

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