Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Pain of Sacroiliac Joint Inflammation

By Andrew Mitchell

Have you been experiencing stabbing pains in your lower back? Is bending over, turning round, or rolling over into your bed even difficult for you? If this is the case, you might have a sacroiliac joint inflammation, and that is one pain in the back you would gladly do your Christmas holidays without.

Now, you might be wondering what the sacroiliac joints even are. They are two 'L-shaped' joints are situated at the lower back, between the pelvic ilium and the sacrum (the small wedge-shaped bone at the bottom of your spine), and are held in place by various muscles and ligaments. Their function is to enable you to move your pelvis - sacroiliac joints get pulled and twisted along the pelvic girdle whenever you move your lower back.

When one of the joints gets inflamed, sharp pains may arise in the lower back, buttocks, and sometimes the thighs. This can happen either when one of the joints gets stuck, or when one half of the pelvis is constantly being pushed backwards and forwards.

While small infections of the sacroiliac joints and associated ligaments are quite common, the more sever forms of sacroiliitis tend to occur more frequently with aging. The main causes of sacroiliitis are degenerative arthritis (also known as osteoarthritis of the spine) which leads to the deterioration of the sacroiliac joints; pregnancy, as it forces the pelvis to stretch to accommodate childbirth; or some form of sudden impact or traumatic injury to the spine or pelvic region. But do not worry: sacroiliitis is treatable, as long as you are sure to visit osteopath as soon as you notice any of its defining symptoms.

The most common symptoms of sacroiliac joint inflammation are: - Restricted hip movement (making it difficult to turn around or roll over in bed) - Having a stiff lower back after extended periods of remaining still or sedentary (i.e. after long car journeys), or when getting up in the morning - Having trouble bending down - Experiencing pain during sexual intercourse - Sharp pains in your thighs when moving your legs in a specific way (swinging them over the bed or out of the car)

If you find that you have any of these symptoms, it is important that you go see an osteopath, as they will have an in-depth knowledge of the workings of the sacroiliac joint. Here are some things you can try on your own to try and ease some of the pain: - Try sleeping on your side at night (instead of your back or stomach). - Try placing a pillow in between your knees when sitting or lying down. This should take some pressure of the pelvis. - Take an icepack, wrap it in a damp tea towel, and place it on the inflamed region for periods of 10 minutes on and off for half an hour. Do this for up to three times a day.

Sacroiliac joint inflammation can be extremely uncomfortable, but osteopaths can help you deal with the pain quite effectively through a combination of physical therapy and anti-inflammatory treatments. So as long as you visit your osteopath regularly and take good care of yourself, this upcoming holiday season should be as enjoyable as your last.

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