What Is Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction?

Learn about the symptoms and treatment options for sacroiliac joint dysfunction.

There are two sacroiliac joints in the body. They are located on each side of the sacrum – the triangle-shaped bone at the bottom of the spine – where it connects to the pelvis. The SI joint is the shock absorbing layer of cartilage between the ilium (hip bone) and sacrum. When this cartilage is damaged and worn away, the bones can rub together causing pain in the joints, lower back, buttocks, hips and legs. The SI joints play a very important role in providing stability for the body and absorbing the forces of impact that comes with running, walking, or jumping.


Sacroiliac joint problems go by a few different names, such as SI joint dysfunction, sacroiliac joint disease, SI joint syndrome, SI joint strain and SI joint inflammation.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

What You May Be Feeling Having a Bulging Disc?

Back Pain

Lower Back Pain

Leg Numbness

Leg Numbness



Pain In Extremities

Pain In Extremities

Symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

The primary symptoms of SI joint dysfunction are pain the lower back, buttocks and legs.


There are other disorders that can also cause inflammation in the SI joint and lead to stiffness and severe pain, such as:


  • Gout
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis

It is estimated that 15 to 25 percent of patients with axial low back pain can attribute their pain to the SI joint.

How Is Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction Diagnosed?

There are a variety of tests a patient may undergo to determine the cause of their SI joint pain. Proper diagnosis is important because symptoms may mimic symptoms of problems in other parts of the body. Your physician can diagnose the joint by conducting the following exams and tests:


  • Medical History and Physical Examination to determine what underlying disorders may be causing the pain.
  • Provocative tests meant to reproduce pain of the SI joints.
  • X-Ray and CT scans to identify hardening tissue and wear on the bone around the joint.
  • MRI to identify fractures and inflammation not visible on an X-ray.
  • Injections to determine if the SI joint is the cause of the pain.

How Is SI Joint Dysfunction Treated?

There are a variety of options available to treat SI joint dysfunction ranging from medications, physical therapy, chiropractic care to injections and surgery.


When conservative methods fail to relieve the pain, your physician may recommend an SI Joint Fusion to reduce the amount of movement and pain in the sacroiliac joint.

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