Do you feel an ache on one side of your lower back? Does your hip feel stiff, or like it can’t support your weight? Lower back pain is unfortunately common and has a variety of causes. But at ChiroCareLA in Glendale, Dr. Jack Alajajian and his staff are equipped to not only diagnose patients’ problems and treat them noninvasively, but also to help them prevent relapses. Today we’re going to take a closer look at one of the most common causes of lower back pain: sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
Although the name sacroiliac joint dysfunction might sound complicated, it’s really just a description of the joint that is being affected. The sacrum is a structure made up of fused vertebrae that dangles beneath our lumbar spines and connects to the pelvis. The connecting part of the pelvis is called the ilium, of which there is one on each side, and it includes the bony crests at the top of the pelvis. The sacroiliac joint is a shock absorber, but it doesn’t normally have very much mobility. There are strong muscles and ligaments surrounding it that help to stabilize the lower back, but the joint can become damaged. When it is inflamed, we call that “sacroiliitis,” but inflammation is not always present during dysfunction.
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction often feels similar to other causes of lower back pain, and may occur along with them. If the nearby muscles are swollen, they may be pinching the sciatic nerve, causing the patient to feel pain, tingling, or numbness along their leg. We can diagnose sacroiliac joint dysfunction by performing tactile, motion, and imaging tests. If we determine that the sacroiliac joint is overly stiff, we can loosen it by performing chiropractic adjustments and applying anti-inflammatory treatment such as electric muscle stimulation. If it is overly mobile, we may advise the safe application of hot packs and use of a pelvic brace until the patient is able to rebuild their hip muscles through prescribed therapeutic exercise.