Sciatica pain is a musculoskeletal mechanical condition characterized by pain shooting down the leg from the lower back. Typically, symptoms happen on one side of the body and usually are felt down the back, outside, or front of the leg. Sciatica has grown in awareness, and up to 40% of people will have sciatica pain at some point in their life. However, sometimes you may be experiencing pain that you think is sciatica when it could actually be sacroiliac joint trouble.
So what is the sacroiliac joint?
The sacroiliac joint (SI) is between the sacrum and the ilium bones of the pelvis connected by strong ligaments. The sacrum supports the spine and the spine is supported by the ilium on each side. Humans have two sacroiliac joints on each side of the body that affect posture as well as the gait in walking and running.
Often when bending backwards, you’ll feel pain directly over the joint and usually on one side, meaning inflammation of the joint is the cause. If the pain is worse when you bend forward, it could be the strained ligaments around the joint. Many times this pain is transferred from the source which causes the confusion with sciatica pain or herniated disc.
How do I know my pain is from the sacroiliac joint?
The best way to understand if you’re pain is from the SI joint is to see a chiropractor. Particularly because chiropractors specialize in joint assessment. They can distinguish whether your SI joint, sciatica, or herniated disc are causing you issues and will provide treatment for relief from pain through chiropractic adjustments accompanied by stretching and strengthening exercises.
If after an assessment it is discovered that you have SI joint issues, you should try to limit any activities that would exasperate the issue. Ice helps to lower inflammation and should be applied for up to 10 minutes to the injured area several times per day. Your chiropractor needs to also provide targeted SI joint adjustments to help restore function.
There is help
Fortunately, most people diagnosed with SI issues will benefit from non-surgical treatment for SI pain. This can be a combination of chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, and specific exercises. Working with a licensed chiropractor who offers a variety of treatment options is a good way to help ease the stresses on your SI joints, and improve your range of motion without the need of medication.