Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction (SIJ)

The sacroiliac joint (SIJ) is located in the pelvis and connects the sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of the spine) to the ilium (the large bone on the side of the pelvis). Sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SIJ dysfunction or SIJD) refers to a condition in which the sacroiliac joint becomes irritated or inflamed, leading to pain and discomfort in the lower back, buttocks, or legs.

SIJ dysfunction can occur due to various factors, including injury, pregnancy, arthritis, or anatomical abnormalities. Symptoms may include pain, stiffness, or aching in the lower back, hips, or legs, as well as difficulty standing or sitting for long periods of time.

Causes of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction (SIJ)

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SIJ) can cause a range of symptoms that affect the lower back, hips, and legs. Some of the most common causes of SIJ dysfunction include:

Inflammation: Inflammation in the sacroiliac joint can occur due to injury, infection, or conditions such as arthritis.

Trauma: A sudden impact or fall can cause damage to the sacroiliac joint, leading to dysfunction and pain.

Pregnancy: The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can cause the ligaments around the sacroiliac joint to become more relaxed, which can result in pain and dysfunction.

Repetitive stress: Repetitive movements or activities that put stress on the sacroiliac joint, such as running or squatting, can lead to dysfunction and pain.

Degenerative conditions: Conditions such as degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, or spinal stenosis can affect the sacroiliac joint and cause dysfunction and pain.

Muscular imbalances: Muscle imbalances in the hips or lower back can put extra stress on the sacroiliac joint, leading to dysfunction and pain.

Symptoms of SIJ dysfunction can include lower back pain, hip pain, buttock pain, and pain or tingling in the legs. Other possible symptoms include stiffness or a feeling of instability in the lower back or hips, as well as difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time.

Signs and Symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction (SIJ)

The signs and symptoms of sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SIJ) can vary from person to person, but the most common ones include:

  • Lower back pain: Pain in the lower back, usually on one side or the other, is the most common symptom of SIJ dysfunction. The pain may be a dull ache or sharp and stabbing.
  • Buttock pain: Pain in the buttock or hip region, usually on one side, can also be a symptom of SIJ dysfunction. The pain may feel like a deep ache or a sharp, shooting pain.
  • Hip pain: Pain in the hip joint can also be a symptom of SIJ dysfunction. The pain may be felt in the groin area or on the outside of the hip.
  • Leg pain: Pain or numbness in the legs, often in the back of the thigh, can be a symptom of SIJ dysfunction.
  • Stiffness: Stiffness or a feeling of tightness in the lower back, hips, or legs may be a symptom of SIJ dysfunction.
  • Instability: A feeling of instability or weakness in the lower back or hips, especially when standing or walking, can be a symptom of SIJ dysfunction.
  • Reduced range of motion: SIJ dysfunction can cause a reduced range of motion in the lower back, hips, or legs.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Treatment for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction (SIJ)

Physiotherapy treatment for sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SIJ) typically involves a combination of manual therapy, exercise, and education. Here are some common physiotherapy treatments for SIJ dysfunction:

Manual therapy: This can include techniques such as joint mobilization, soft tissue massage, and myofascial release, which are designed to improve joint mobility and reduce pain.

Stretching exercises: Stretching exercises can help improve flexibility in the hips, pelvis, and lower back, which can reduce strain on the SI joint. Common stretches include hip flexor stretches, piriformis stretches, and hamstring stretches.

Strengthening exercises: Strengthening exercises can help improve the stability of the SI joint and surrounding muscles. These exercises may include core strengthening, glute strengthening, and hip abductor strengthening.

Education and activity modification: A physiotherapist can help identify any postural or movement patterns that may be contributing to SIJ dysfunction and provide education on proper body mechanics to reduce strain on the SI joint. They may also recommend modifications to daily activities to reduce the risk of aggravating the condition.

Taping: Kinesiology tape may be used to provide support and stability to the SI joint and surrounding muscles.

Electrical modalities: Modalities such as ultrasound or TENS may be used to reduce pain and inflammation in the affected area.

It is important to work with a qualified physiotherapist to develop an individualized treatment plan for SIJ dysfunction, as the specific treatment approach will depend on the underlying cause of the condition and individual factors such as age, fitness level, and overall health.

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a therapist about sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SIJ) please call us at 03 9836 1126.



Celenay ST, Kaya DO, Akbayrak T. Effects of a sacroiliac joint mobilization program on pain, functional status, and pressure pain threshold in patients with sacroiliac joint dysfunction. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2020 Jul

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