Top 9 Causes Of SI Joint Dysfunction

Top 9 Causes Of SI Joint Dysfunction

Did your doctor just diagnose you with SI joint dysfunction? Or are you simply trying to find the source of your unexplainable back pain? Well, either way, you’re surely curious to know more about this condition.

So what exactly causes SI joint dysfunction? What lies beneath its burning pain?

Before getting into anything else, let’s look at the roots of this problem. Here are the top 9 responsibles for SI joint dysfunction.


1. Ankylosing Spondylitis

One of the main responsible for SI joint pain is no other than ankylosing spondylitis. This is actually a particular type of arthritis, that only produces damages in the back. Joints and ligaments are usually affected.

In many cases, this spondylitis begins with lower back and SI joint pain.

A surprising fact about this condition is that it mostly affects young men. In fact, the forms that affect women are milder, so many times this condition is neglected.

Fortunately, ankylosing spondylitis is quite easy to diagnose using X-rays. And though there is no certain cure, the treatments  can reduce the symptoms to zero.


2. Pregnancy

Top 9 Causes Of SI Joint DysfunctionSI joint dysfunction is more common in young women, and the explanation is pregnancy.

Pregnancy leads to an extra weight on the pelvis. This happens especially in the last trimester. Therefore, sacroiliac joints are among the most affected ones, because of their position.

This condition is quite common in pregnancy. In fact, more than half of the young women experiencing Si joint pain are pregnant.

However, in rare casees, the pain doesn’t improve after birth. In this case, an anti-inflamatory treatment is a must, in order to get rid of the pain.


3. Obesity

Just like in the case of pregnancy, obesity means an extra weight is placed on the joints. Therefore, sooner or later they will experience a grade of damage. And this damage will lead to malfunction and pain.

In fact, nowadays being overweight is one of the major causes of SI joint dysfunction. As the percent of obesity is growing every year, there are more and more people dealing with condition.

Obviously, the best thing you can do in this case is losing weight. Diet, exercising and working out are probably the best ways to do that.


4. Side Effects Of Medication

Many drugs produce joint pain as a side effect, but most stick to the hand, toes or leg joints. However, anti-cancer medicines are known to affect a large number of joints. And in rare case, SI joints could be among them. 

Therefore, if you start experiencing low back pain during a treatment with anti-cancer drugs, don’t panic. It’s probably just a side effect of the drugs.

Tell your doctor about these symptoms and you will receive an extra treatment that will reduce the pain. 


5. Rheumatoid Arthritis

People with RA are used to experience different kind of pains in different places of the body. However, SI dysfunction doesn’t feel like a regular joint pain. In fact, the patient feels it as a low back, hip or even leg pain.

At first sight, that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with joints, but in fact it does. 

People with rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to experience SI dysfunction at one point in their lives. So if you’re among this category, your low back pain is probably produced by your chronic disease itself. 


6. Traumatic Injuries

Accidents are another major cause of low back pain caused by SI dysfunction. 

Typically, the pain appears from minutes to hours after the traumatic event. However, that’s not always the case. 

What’s interesting is that the pain can appear much later, not immediately after the accident. Somewhere around 2-3 weeks later. Who would think this pain is still a consequence of the accident?

The good news in this case is that the pain goes away by itself, after some time. If your body is healthy and it was only the joints that were injuried, they will heal by themselves. Of course, local treatment can speed up the process of healing.


7. Bacterial Infections

Top 9 Causes Of SI Joint DysfunctionThough it’s not the most common situation, bacterias can produce infections in the SI joints. 

Streptoccocus and Neisseria are 2 of the biggest responsibles for joint infections, especially in people who suffered surgeries or in immunocompromised patients.

Fortunately, they prefer the hand of the leg joints. However, in rare cases, they were reported to produce SI joint infections as well.


8. Gout

This is another type of arthritis that can end up affecting the SI joints, but fortunately this doesn’t happen daily.

Most of the times, gout prefers the toe joints, the legs or the fingers. However, in those rare situation when it localizes in the SI joints, it produces burning pain.

The bad news is that, being so rare in this place, it’s also hard to diagnose. But gout isn’t a condition that can’t be treated nowadays, so don’t worry.


9. Prior Spinal Fusion

A lombar fusion can add an extra stress on the SI joint, and you know what this means. Damage, slow degeneration and pain.

However, this spinal fusion is made to solve other back pain problems, like scoliosis, fractures or degenerative disk disease. If your pain continues long time after the surgery, consult your doctor.

The root of this pain might be just a consequence of that surgery, so additional treatment is require. 


So What Causes SI Joint Dysfunction In Your Case?

It might be a form of arthritis, a previous accident or just a temporary state like pregnancy. Or any other of the 9 I mentioned.

No matter which is the cause, make sure you see a doctor. The pain doesn’t go away by itself in most cases, but the appropriate treatment can make wonders. In some cases (like obesity), lifestyle changes are a must, if you want to get rid of the pain. 

So what do you think that is the cause of your SI joint dysfunction?

Let me know in the comments below and I will try to provide you some additional ad

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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2 Responses

  1. Margaret Oberhsaus says:

    I have had sciatic pain before and it was stopped for years using a method of injecting the sciatic joint with steroids using a needle guided by x-ray to the exact spot that was causing the pain. I was put to sleep with a mild anesthesia for a couple of minutes while a needle was inserted and steroids were injected.
    During the episode of pain in the sciatic, I noticed that pain in my shoulders and upper back was getting worse, but I think the pain of the sciatic joint was making me tense up, thus causing the pain in the shoulder and upper back area and, at times into the neck.
    Once the treatment was given in the sciatic joint, the pain immediately started to disappear until it was completely gone.
    My thought is that diminishing the pain allowed me to move more freely and keep the joints from getting stiff from immobility and allowing me to move those joints enough to stop any further pain from occurring.

  2. Heather Pharm.D. says:

    Hi Margaret, thanks for sharing your experience with sciatic pain. I’m really happy to hear you managed to get over it. Steroid injections are indeed helpful in some cases and you’re pretty much right – once the pain started to go away and you were able to move your joints, they started getting more flexible. So the chances of them getting stiff again decreased. It makes a lot of sense to me.

    Hope you manage to keep them in this shape for as long as possible!

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