July 01, 2015

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

Hidden cause of low back pain

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction

Low back pain is a common problem in older adults and can have many causes. But just because the pain occurs in the area of your lower back, doesn't always mean that the vertebrae in your spine are the problem.

One other cause may be a problem related to your sacroiliac joint, which connects the pelvis to the lower spine. It's estimated that about 15 to 30 percent of people with persistent low back pain have sacroiliac joint dysfunction as the cause or as a contributing factor. However, it can be challenging to differentiate sacroiliac joint dysfunction from other causes of pain, which sometimes means that it's overlooked as a diagnosis.

Multiple causes

The sacroiliac joint connects the sacrum — which is a bony structure below your lower vertebrae — and the upper part of your pelvis called the ilium. The joint is held together by strong ligaments and other tissues, such as muscles. The sacroiliac joint moves very little, and its main role is to support the upper body and act as a shock absorber between the spine and pelvis.

One common cause of sacroiliac joint pain is from some type of injury — either recent or longer ago — such as a fall onto the hip, a car accident, or some sort of event involving twisting or off-balance motions, such as with swinging a golf club, bowling or shoveling. Repetitive stress such as jogging or stair climbing also may be a cause.

Another common cause is...