Your sacroiliac (SI) joints serve as a shock absorber for your body’s weight and protect your spine. However, they can cause pain that can be hard to diagnose because these important joints are located deep inside your body in a region where general pain is common. SI joint dysfunction is often overlooked as a pain source.
That’s why Dr. Eric K. Fanaee is careful to explore the possibility of SI joint dysfunction with patients experiencing back pain. With offices in West Islip, Islandia, and Smithtown, New York, Dr. Fanaee can help you get to the bottom of your chronic back pain.
Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction
Back pain can be difficult to diagnose as many conditions cause it, including ruptured discs, muscle strain, arthritis, and osteoporosis. However, sacroiliac joint dysfunction may be to blame for 15% to 30% of patients with lower back pain.
SI joint dysfunction can cause back pain that may either be localized in your lower back or radiate all the way down through your buttocks and legs. This pain can range from mild to severe and occur as the result of an acute incident or a chronic condition that flares up from time to time.
What, and where, are the sacroiliac joints?
The sacroiliac joints (SI joints) are found near your tailbone, connecting the triangle-shaped sacrum at the base of your spine to the ilium in the top part of your pelvis. If you’ve ever noticed “back dimples,” or small indentations at the base of your spine, those are caused by ligaments connected to your SI joints.
When most people think of joints, they think of ones that are quite mobile like elbows, hips, and knees. However, the SI joints have a small range of motion and instead act as shock absorbers supporting your body weight and transferring the impact of walking evenly throughout your pelvis and legs.
Causes of sacroiliac joint dysfunction
There are several causes of SI joint dysfunction, so it can be tough to pinpoint the primary issue. Consider the following possibilities.
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, sports accident, or fall, it’s common to land on or injure your sensitive lower back region. As your SI joints support the weight of your body and work as shock absorbers, sudden trauma can strain the surrounding ligaments and damage these joints.
During pregnancy, many women notice back pain that often radiates from the SI joints. That’s because pregnancy triggers the release of a hormone called relaxin, which, as the name suggests, encourages the ligaments in your joints to become more flexible in order to accommodate a growing baby.
This hormone particularly affects the pelvic region in preparation for childbirth. If this pelvic region remains flexible even after childbirth, the hypermobility in the SI joint can eventually cause joint pain due to increased wear-and-tear.
Degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis can eventually damage the SI joints and cause pain. Osteoarthritis causes a gradual wearing down of the cushioning cartilage in the SI joint, leading to inflammation and causing lower back and joint pain.
Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a subtype of inflammatory arthritis that primarily affects the spine and can even cause joints to harden as bones fuse in the spine. Because AS is a chronic and degenerative condition, it’s important to keep an eye out for its signs. If your back pain seems to worsen with rest, talk to Dr. Fanaee about AS.
Find relief for your pain
If you’ve been experiencing chronic back pain, you may feel that it’s impossible to find relief. Dr. Fanaee’s holistic, multidisciplinary approach focuses on understanding the root causes of your back pain in order to improve your condition and reduce your pain.
When you’re ready to take steps toward a pain-free life, book an appointment with Dr. Fanaee by calling the office most convenient to you or making an appointment online. With our three offices offering both in-person and virtual visits, it’s never been easier to get relief for your pain.