6 Symptoms Of SI Joint Dysfunction – How Do You Recognize It?

Have you experienced some low back pain recently? Does your hip hurt you without any possible reason? Well, the cause beneath your pain might be further than you think. 

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction may be the main responsible for your sudden pain. But it’s not so easy to recognize this condition. For this reason, here are the top 6 symptoms of SI joint dysfunction.

Did you experience any of them recently?


1. Low Back Pain

6 Symptoms Of SI Joint Dysfunction – How Do You Recognize It?

If there’s something anyone knows about SI dysfunction, it’s surely the low back pain. This is usually the first sign of this condition, and it’s the symptom that doesn’t go awayby itself.

The sacroiliac joint is localized right below the spine. So everytime it gets swollen and painful, guess where you will feel that pain? Exactly, in your back.

In fact, the back pain is a fake symptom because it’s not your back aching. It’s just your joint. But how can you tell that from the outside?

Typically, you feel the pain in the lowest area of your back. Anatomically speaking, it’s under the L5. 

However, it’s hard to tell you have SI joint dysfunction just after this symptom. But if the pain persists more than a few days, consult a doctor and you should receive a certain diagnosis.


2. Hip Pain

This is one of the symptoms that helps the doctor choose the correct diagnosis. If you have very low back pain and your hip starts bothering as well, it’s quite clear that it’s not the back, but the joint. 

In most cases, the hip pain caused by this condition isn’t as severe as the leg pain. It’s more of a radiating pain. That’s one of the hints for doctors.

As the SI joint is closer to the spine, the back pain will be stronger than any other additional pain. 


3. Standing Discomfort

6 Symptoms Of SI Joint Dysfunction - How Do You Recognize It?Patients with SI joint dysfunction feel much better when they’re sitting down, that’s obvious. Walking puts an additional stress on the joints, because of their position. Besides, every single step that we do requires the joints’ movement.

Even standing can be tiresome for a person suffering from this condition. The joints have to maintain a fixed position, and as they’re not in a great shape themselves, the person will feel extremely tired while standing. 

However, things get much better when sitting down. In easier forms, the pain can even go away completely, but it usually reappears after long periods of standing.


4. Morning Stiffness

Just like most conditions that affect the joints, stiffness is one of the common symptoms of SI dysfunction. 

The stiffness is usually felt in the morning, right after getting out of bed. However, in some cases it persists throughout the whole day. In other situations, the stiffness comes back once you stand up, after long periods of sitting down.

Just like the pain, the stiffness is usually felt in the lower back – the patient can’t move his back properly. But unlike the pain, the stiffness usually sticks to the back. Hip stiffness is quite rare and it only appears in complicated cases.


5. Weakness In The Legs

Just like the pain can radiate to the hip, it can also radiate to the legs. It’s not extremely common, that’s true, but an average percent of patients experience leg pain because of the SI joint. 

The pain isn’t as strong as the back pain, just like in the case of radiating hip pain. However, the legs feel much weaker and the patient typically feels the need to sit down the whole day. 


6. Disturbed Walking

6 Symptoms Of SI Joint Dysfunction – How Do You Recognize It?Though it’s a symptom that only appears in severe forms, the walking pattern of a patient with SI dysfunction can be changed. 

The person will move visibly slower, with smaller steps and with a different balance of the body. Also, he will also avoid walking and standing, as much as possible. 

If the walking patterns change, we’re probably talking about a serious form of SI dysfunction and seeing a doctor is a must, as soon as possible. 



So Now Do You Know The Main Symptoms Of SI Joint Dysfunction?

Lower back pain is a sign that is rarely missing from a patient with this condition. The pain can radiate to the hip or upper leg, but it never migrates completely. So part of the lower back will still hurt you.

A patient with SI joint dysfunction will feel much better sitting down, so walking and standing will be avoided when possible.

Additional symptoms like stiffnes, leg weakness or walking discomfort may or may not appear, depending of the severity of the form. 

So if you’re dealing with an unexplainable back pain in the lowest part, SI joint dysfunction may be the hidden cause. Besides, any of the other symptoms can be an addition sign that this is the right diagnosis.

Heather Pharm.D.

Heather Tracy Foley is a Pharmacy graduate, Blogger and Author with a vast experience in health sciences. She has a particular interest in joint pain and rheumatology and spent several years studying health problems. You can find her on Pinterest or via email.

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6 Responses

  1. Rakesh says:

    I have si joint problem
    Si problem is worsened while sitting.. and less painful while standing.
    While sitting the load on spine and sij is 1.5 times more. So standing is easier than sitting.

  2. Heather Pharm.D. says:

    Hi Rakesh, I’m so sorry to hear about your issue. Have you visited a doctor for a consultation? Are you taking any treatment or prescription? It must be really hard to feel better while standing, this can make you really tired. One thing you can try is putting a hot bottle on the painful area, especially when sitting down. Heat will loosen up the joints so the stiffness should get better in a few minutes, and so would the pain.

    Other than that, I would need some more details about your pain in order to be able to recommend you something. Do you have SI joint dysfunction (as a diagnosis) or there’s simply this SI pain, without any known cause? Let me know the answer and I will try to help more.

  3. David Keith says:

    Heather Pharm D

    I have had problems with SI Joints for the last 30 years. I am now considered for fusion as it hurts to stand and to walk. It also hurts to sit on the right side and also to lie on the right side.

  4. Heather Pharm.D. says:

    Hello David, I’m so sorry to hear about your issues. But if you don’t mind, I have a couple of questions that might help me understand your problem better and maybe even recommend you something. First, what is your exact diagnosis? I assume you’ve visited at least one doctor since your problems appeared? Did you take any treatment until now? Have you tried any supplement or alternative remedy? And also, do you have any associate conditions or any other joint problems (osteoarthritis, knee pain, etc.)?

    I hope you can answer these questions and I will try to see if I can help you with any advice.

  5. Teresa A Smith says:

    Hi! I’ve been diagnosed with SI joint dysfunction. I can actually feel my left joint “popping” at times. Initial diagnosis MRI showed inflammation. I re-injured it while mowing with a riding mower. Do you have an article that will tell me things I can do to help my problem? “Thanks” for sharing sitting is best while healing!

  6. Heather Pharm.D. says:

    Hi Teresa. I don’t really have an article focused on that, but my advice is to try turmeric-based supplements. Turmeric is the best herb against inflammation, so it might help your joint (at least partially). The problem won’t disappear overnight, though, but it can get better if you use turmeric or other anti-inflammatory herbs. Hope this helps!

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