Sacroiliac pain occurs when the joints become misaligned and the ligaments or muscles around the joints become strained or sprained, causing inflammation. The inflammation manifests as pain, with stiffness, on the left or right side of the lower back, a pain that may radiate to the buttocks, the back of thigh or the groin. The pain may also be achy, becoming sharp with movement, and is often made worse with rolling in bed, putting on shoes and socks, and rising from a seated position. In addition, it can be tender to the touch around the bony lumps on one side of the lower back.
When a patient gets physical therapy and chiropractic care as treatment for sacroiliac joint dysfunction, the practitioner first takes a complete history and examines the lower back and pelvis to determine the structural cause of the pain.
The best treatment combines hands-on soft-tissue and sacroiliac joint techniques. Much research supports the effectiveness of hands-on techniques to relieve pain and restore function. Soft-tissue techniques include myofascial release, the Graston technique and the Active Release Technique, and are used to alleviate muscle spasms and inflammation, and to promote the healing of tissue and the desensitization of painful nerve endings.
The practitioner then introduces gentle joint techniques involving mobilization, manipulation or muscle energy to realign the sacroiliac joint. After this, the patient follows a program of gentle stretches and exercises to encourage healing and thwart recurrence.