Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ) Pain
The large pair of joints that sit between the base of the spine (sacrum) and ilium bone (wing of the pelvis), called the sacroiliac joints (SIJ), can be a source of low back, buttock and leg pain. You can also get symptoms such as pins and needles and numbness referred from these joints into the leg. It can be difficult to pinpoint pain or other symptoms referred from the joint as, unlike the nerves in the back that cause Sciatica, the symptoms do not follow a specific distribution pattern. SIJ pain or dysfunction, can also be similar to symptoms from the back joints or hip joints, so it can be difficult to diagnose.
Illustration provided by Joanna Culley
Women are more likely than men to get SIJ pain. The SIJ’s can be a source of pain for a number of reasons.
Trauma: such as through normal childbirth, or a traction or compression type injury; for example, with a road traffic accident or fall.
Degenerative changes: which can be age related, or sometimes linked to more load through the SIJ, such as when the low back joints have been fused.
Inflammatory conditions: that can sometimes affect the joints in the spine, called spondyloarthropathies. These include conditions such as Psoriatic Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis. Less commonly other inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis can also be linked to spondyloarthropathy.
At New Hall our spinal specialist team commonly assess and treat SIJ pain and dysfunction and are experienced in recognising symptoms. There are a specific set of tests that can be done to assess the SIJ and after taking a careful medical history there are often clues that will raise suspicion that the SIJ might be responsible for symptoms.