The sacroiliac (SI) joint serves an important function in helping support the spine. Located on each side of the lower spine, it links the sacrum bone with the pelvis, which increases spine stability. Walking, running, or any other type of motion would be much more strenuous if the SI joint didn’t exist. As a result, you can be in extreme discomfort if it isn’t working properly. Inflammation in this area, specifically, could be an issue for many people during their lives.
SI joint inflammation, which could result in lower back pain, is a type of sacroiliitis—a medical disorder triggered by several other health conditions, such as gout and various forms of arthritis. SI joint inflammation can be a side effect of SI joint dysfunction, as well as other disorders.
Here are some recent statistics that put the prevalence of this ailment into perspective:
According to a 2014 study shared by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the exact number of people who suffer from SI joint pain in the United States is unknown. However, it “could represent up to 15% of all patients seen in outpatient clinics with chronic lower back pain,” the analysis finds.
Furthermore, according to the study:
- About 19% to 29% of adults in the United States have lower back pain. “With 234 million adults in the U.S., the national burden of SIJ [sacroiliac joint] pain could be as high as 234,000,000 × 29% × 15%, or 10 million.”
- SI patients who deal with chronic lower back pain spend about twice as much money on health-related expenses each year, “with total mean direct annual costs of >$8,000.”
- The average age of the participants in the cohort suffering from SI joint pain was 52.
- This condition doesn’t discriminate. It “appears to affect patients in their mid-life productive years, resulting in a very high economic burden of disease related to both the number of years of living with the disease, as well as associated limitations on productivity.”
Women who are pregnant are among those especially susceptible to SI joint discomfort. A 2014 report shared by the Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy suggests that physical therapy is a viable treatment option.
The results showed:
- Out of the 15 studies focusing on pregnant individuals and SI joint dysfunction that were assessed, 12 indicated the benefits of “stabilizing exercises,” as well as the “use of a nonelastic sacroiliac belt, and muscle energy techniques,” to address their pain.
- “Three of the 15 studies supported sacroiliac manipulation, soft-tissue mobilization, postural alignment, pelvic belt use, and exercises in individuals with SIJD.”
However, other therapies in addition to physical therapy could also be effective for people with SI joint pain, whether pregnant or not.