Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SIJD) is a common cause of lower back and buttock pain, characterized by dysfunction or irritation of the sacroiliac joint, which connects the sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of the spine) to the pelvis.

SIJD can lead to discomfort, stiffness, and difficulty with movement, affecting daily activities and overall quality of life. In this guide, we’ll explore the causes, symptoms, diagnosis process, and treatment options.

Our team of chiropractors and physical therapists have helped many patients with SIJD. Call us today at 1-800-HURT911 or 855-475-2588.

Common Causes of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can occur due to various factors that affect the stability and function of the sacroiliac joint. Some common causes include:


Direct trauma or injury to the sacroiliac joint, such as a fall, motor vehicle accident, or sports-related injury, can cause sprains, strains, or misalignments that lead to dysfunction and pain.


During pregnancy, hormonal changes, increased ligament laxity, and changes in pelvic biomechanics can contribute to sacroiliac joint dysfunction, leading to pain and discomfort in the lower back and buttocks.

Degenerative Changes

Wear and tear on the sacroiliac joint due to aging, repetitive stress, or degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis or ankylosing spondylitis can cause inflammation, joint degeneration, and dysfunction over time.

Gait Abnormalities

Abnormalities in walking or gait patterns, such as leg length discrepancies, asymmetrical movement patterns, or improper biomechanics, can place excessive stress on the sacroiliac joint, leading to dysfunction and pain.

Symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can cause a variety of symptoms that may vary in intensity and duration. Common symptoms include:

Lower Back Pain

The most common symptom of sacroiliac joint dysfunction is pain in the lower back, typically located on one side of the spine or buttock. The pain may radiate down the leg or buttock and may worsen with prolonged sitting, standing, or walking.

Hip Pain

Some individuals with sacroiliac joint dysfunction may experience pain or discomfort in the hip region, especially when walking, climbing stairs, or performing activities that involve hip movement.

Pelvic Pain

Pain or discomfort may be felt in the pelvic region, near the sacroiliac joint, and may worsen with certain movements or positions, such as bending, twisting, or lifting.


Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can cause stiffness or restricted movement in the lower back, pelvis, or hips, making it difficult to bend, twist, or perform everyday activities.

Pain When Bearing Weight

Pain or discomfort in the sacroiliac joint may worsen with weight-bearing activities such as walking, running, or standing for prolonged periods.


Diagnosing sacroiliac joint dysfunction typically involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests.

Medical History

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms, medical history, previous injuries, activities that worsen or alleviate symptoms, and any other relevant information.

Physical Examination

A physical examination may be performed to assess range of motion, stability, tenderness, and alignment of the sacroiliac joint and surrounding structures. Specific tests, such as the FABER test (flexion, abduction, external rotation), Gaenslen’s test, or Patrick’s test, may be used to assess for sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

Diagnostic Imaging

While physical examination findings are often suggestive of sacroiliac joint dysfunction, imaging studies such as X-rays, computed tomography (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis, rule out other potential causes of symptoms, and assess the integrity of the sacroiliac joint and surrounding structures.

Treatments for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Treatment for sacroiliac joint dysfunction aims to alleviate pain, improve function, and restore mobility. Some common treatment options include:


Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be recommended to help manage pain and reduce inflammation associated with sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy exercises and interventions, such as stretching, strengthening, manual therapy, and modalities (e.g., heat, ice, ultrasound), can help improve stability, flexibility, and function of the sacroiliac joint and surrounding muscles.

Joint Injections

Corticosteroid injections or other therapeutic injections may be administered directly into the sacroiliac joint to reduce pain and inflammation and provide temporary relief from symptoms.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic adjustments or manipulations may be performed to realign the sacroiliac joint and surrounding structures, relieve pressure, and restore normal function.

Sacroiliac Joint Fusion

In some cases of severe or persistent sacroiliac joint dysfunction that does not respond to conservative treatments, surgical intervention such as sacroiliac joint fusion may be considered to stabilize the joint and reduce pain.

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