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Why is there achiness radiating down my lower body?

By Kieran Loving, ATC

A common cause of lower back pain is SI Joint Dysfunction. What in the world is an SI joint? Why is it important? When I worked in a high school, many young athletes would complain about lower back pain or symptoms that radiate down there legs. We often think that back pain is only something you find on older populations. So why would young, healthy athletes be dealing with this? They’re in peak physical condition able to practice and do activities for hours a day! 

The sacroiliac joint or SI joint is the joint between the sacrum and the ilium bones of the pelvis, which are connected by strong ligaments. The sacrum supports the spine and is supported in turn by an ilium on each side. If you took your hand and felt your lower spine, you will notice that it disappears into one big flat bone splitting your buttocks in two, on each side is the joint.

Pain is this region is usually caused by:

  • Too much movement: The pain is typically felt in the lower back and/or hip and may radiate into groin area.
  • Too little movement: The pain is typically felt on one side of the low back or buttocks, and can radiate down the leg. This condition is generally more common in young and middle-aged women.
  • Trauma: The trauma may or may not seem severe. For example, SI joint injury can come from something as simple as stepping on a stair or curb the wrong way and “jamming” the joint to sustaining a fall or even being in a motor vehicle accident.
  • Lax ligaments during pregnancy: During pregnancy, the hormones relax the muscles and ligaments, particularly in the pelvis. Occasionally the ligaments get too lax that the SI joint slips out of place and can be painful.  
  • Mechanical stress: Some people have severe stiffness in their spines due to conditions such as severe arthritis or surgical spinal fusion. This stiffness can cause additional stress at the SI joint, which over time can lead to movement dysfunction and pain.

When those same kids came into the athletic training room we had to have a long discussion about what exactly was happening in there lower back.  Patient education is the key to success and we spend a lot of time here at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center educating and answering questions with our patients. Knowing what exactly the SI joint is and how it is associated with pain and loss of function can really help in getting back on track to recovery and restoration of activities.

These movement issues can cause several conditions that can affect sports, gym, driving, flying, work and all aspects of our lives. The good news is that this is also a very treatable condition. At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, our therapists fully evaluate your pain and determine what’s causing it. They will develop a plan of care designed to reduce that pain, strengthen surrounding muscles and get you back to the activities you enjoy without pain. Let us help you get back to the activities you’ve been missing out on. Call our office TODAY at 703-450-4300.

CLICK HERE for two tests to determine if you might be dealing with SI Joint Dysfunction.

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