3 Things to Know About Sacroiliac Joint Pain
Got low back pain? It may be your sacroiliac joints, which are where the base of your spine meets your pelvis (hip bones). Inflammation in these joints is commonly characterized as pain and stiffness in the lower back, buttocks, or groin area and may even spread down the legs and into the feet.
Get to know sacroiliac joint pain and find relief without the use of pain medication by following the tips below:
What is Sacroiliac Joint Pain?
As we mentioned, your sacroiliac joints are located where your spine meets your hip bones. These joints allow you to bend forward and backward, side to side, twist your torso, and rotate your pelvis.
When you experience sacroiliac joint pain or stiffness, you’ll feel it in your lower back, pelvis, and buttocks. You may also feel pain in the groin, down your legs, and into your feet.
Causes of Sacroiliac Joint Pain
Sacroiliac joint pain is challenging to diagnose since many other conditions overlap symptoms with pain in this area. There are a few situations known to cause pain in the sacroiliac joint, specifically, however:
- Injury, such as from a fall or car accident. Injury to the sacroiliac joint is often referred to as separation.
- Osteoarthritis, which is a type of joint deterioration or “wear-and-tear” arthritis where the joint tissue breaks down over time.
- Pregnancy can cause sacroiliac joint pain as these joints naturally stretch and loosen to prepare for childbirth. Additional weight from pregnancy can also cause stress on these joints if the pregnant person needs to walk a long distance.
- Overusing this joint during activities, such as running and walking for long periods, can cause inflammation and irritation within the sacroiliac joint.
- Inflammation in surrounding muscles and ligaments, resulting from repetitive stress on these areas, causes the sacroiliac joints to become irritated or inflamed as well.
If you’re experiencing extreme low back pain and are unsure of the cause, consult a doctor for further testing.
Relieve Sacroiliac Joint Pain Without Pain Medication
If you’re suffering from sacroiliac joint pain, there are several options for relief. Over-the-counter pain medications — like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen — may be the first thing that comes to mind, but if you’re experiencing chronic pain in this area, long-term use of medications can do more harm than good.
If you’re looking for a way to address joint pain without the use of medication, try one of these three drug-free methods:
Physical therapy can help with many types of injuries or conditions that cause discomfort throughout the body, including sacroiliac joint pain. Physical therapists have training in the body, so they can discover what factors may contribute to your pain.
They will help you learn ways to manage your pain so that it doesn’t interfere with daily life or work activities. They’ll also give you exercises and stretches that can help relieve pain by strengthening other muscles in your body to reduce the stress on your sacroiliac joints.
Laser therapy uses red and near-infrared light for a non-invasive treatment to help relieve pain. The type of light used in laser therapy stimulates cell growth and improves blood flow to the injured area. This helps reduce inflammation and swelling, ultimately reducing pain.
Laser therapy also helps speed up the tissue healing process. If your sacroiliac joint pain comes from an injury, then laser therapy may speed up your recovery.
Laser therapy can be combined with physical therapy to give you the ultimate healing boost.
Rest, Ice, and Heat
Rest, ice, and heat are at-home remedies for temporary joint pain relief. Resting helps to prevent further injury and allows the body to heal. Ice can help reduce inflammation and pain, while heat relieves soreness.
Here are some examples of rest, ice, and heat therapy:
Don’t do anything that makes your symptoms worse or causes pain for 2-3 days after an episode of sacroiliac joint dysfunction (pain in one or both lower back areas). You may also need to stop exercising. Check with your doctor if you aren’t sure whether exercising during the rest period is okay.
Wrap an ice pack in towel and apply is to your low back for 15 minutes twice daily until the swelling subsides. Never apply ice directly to bare skin, as this can cause damage to your skin.
Use moist heat packs on sore muscles to relax tense muscles and reduce soreness. Do not apply heat packs or an electric heat pad directly against the skin.
Sacroiliac joint pain doesn’t have to take you out of the game or your regular activities. Many treatments are available to improve your quality of life and keep up with your busy life. If you want to try laser therapy, find an Aspen Laser Provider near you and discuss if this treatment is right for you.