The sacrum, the triangular bone under the lumbar spine, plays an important role in your body’s functions. Here, you’ll find nerves that contribute to bowel and bladder control and provide sensation to the crotch.
This bone also has a joint called the sacroiliac or SI joint. It connects the hip bones to the sacrum and absorbs shock between the upper body, pelvis, and legs. Moreover, the SI joint supports limited movements that help your body bend forward or backward.
But sometimes, certain factors can affect this joint’s function, causing a misaligned sacrum. Here’s a closer look at this condition and how you can address it.
What are the Symptoms of a Misaligned Sacrum?
SI joint dysfunction can cause the following symptoms:
Lower Back Pain
If you have a misaligned sacrum, your lower back may hurt. You’ll feel a dull, aching pain that can go from mild to severe. It may also occur on one or both sides of your body.
Pain in Other Parts of Your Lower Body
SI joint pain can move to your hips, buttocks, groin, or all three. In most cases, you may feel the ache in your buttocks and lower back or on the side of the thigh. And, like lower back pain, the pain may be felt on one or both sides of the body.
This symptom is primarily characterized by hot, intense, and stabbing pain in the buttocks or backs of the thighs (or both). It may even come with numbness and tingling, both common symptoms of sciatica.
A misaligned sacrum can also cause stiffness and keep your lower back, hips, pelvis, and groin from moving. As a result, walking up stairs, bending, or other movements can be challenging.
You may feel this symptom with more pressure on your SI joint. Some movements that use the joint include climbing stairs, running, jogging, and lying or placing weight on one side.
Finally, SI joint dysfunction can lead to an unsteady pelvis, lower back, or both. In any of these cases, the pelvis may feel like it’ll twist or yield whenever you stand, walk, or try to sit.
What Causes SI Joint Dysfunction?
Generally, excessive and limited movement are the root causes of sacroiliac joint pain. If the joint moves too much (hypermobility), your pelvis may be unbalanced, and pain can occur. You may feel pain in your lower back, hip, or both, and it may spread to your groin.
Meanwhile, fewer motions in the SI joint can result in tense muscles, pain, and sometimes reduced mobility. Hypomobility causes sciatic-like pain, which starts on one side of your lower back or buttocks and extends down the back of your leg.
The Risk Factors for a Misaligned Sacrum
Apart from hypermobility and hypomobility, these factors can also hurt the SI joint.
- Problems with your gait (how you walk), like different leg lengths and scoliosis
- Pregnancy or giving birth
- Repetitive stress on the joint while playing contact sports, carrying heavy objects, performing labor-intensive tasks, or doing similar activities
- Injury or trauma
How Do You Treat SI Joint Dysfunction?
You’ll find multiple treatment options for a misaligned sacrum, with some being natural approaches to it. Let’s look at these methods and how they can help correct SI joint dysfunction.
If you want to ease SI joint pain caused by limited movement, this treatment option can help. A chiropractor will adjust the joint and lower back through manual techniques. Ultimately, manual manipulation can help decrease hypomobility, relax your muscles, and restore your range of motion.
Chiropractors can perform spinal manipulation or mobilization to address a misaligned sacrum. During the first procedure, you lie down on one side, and your chiropractor applies a high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust to the affected joint. You may hear a “crack” while the chiropractor uses this technique, but expect to feel some relief afterward.
Chiropractors can use other techniques if you don’t want your joint cracking. These techniques are slower than spinal manipulation and help keep the joint within its static range of motion. A gentle approach to SI joint pain may involve using instrument assisted adjusting techniques or other suitable methods.
Sacroiliac joint pain exercises are another natural way to address the condition. They’re divided into stretches, strengthening, and aerobic exercises, with various benefits.
- Stretches relax your muscles and reduce spasms in your lower back, hips, and pelvis.
- Strengthening exercises improve support for the SI joint, pelvis, and lower back. Exercises targeting the abdominal, lateral trunk, and low back muscles will help you strengthen the SI joint.
- Aerobic exercises aid blood flow and provide injured tissues with nutrients and oxygen. Low-impact aerobics are ideal for a misaligned sacrum.
For reduced SI joint pain, here are several exercises to try out.
Single Knee-to-Chest Stretch
- Lie flat on your back with your legs outstretched.
- Bend one knee, then pull it up to your chest.
- Hold the knee with your hands for five to ten seconds.
- Do five to ten repetitions for your other leg.
- Lie on your stomach.
- Press your body up on your elbows, keeping your pelvis on the floor.
- Maintain a relaxed lower back and buttocks for a gentle stretch.
- Hold the press-up position for five seconds, then repeat this step for 30 seconds. Aim for 10 repetitions.
Lumbar Rotation (Non-Weight Bearing)
- Lie on your back with bent knees.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor and pull your knees to one side.
- Ensure your thighs rub together, and your knees stay near you.
- Keep your lower back and shoulders flat on the floor.
- Stay in the position for five to 10 seconds.
- Repeat the stretch on the other side.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and arms straight at the sides.
- Slowly lift your hips off the floor while keeping your body straight.
- Hold the pose for five seconds.
- Slowly bring your hips back to the floor.
- Do eight to ten repetitions.
- Get on the floor on your hands and knees. Put your hands and knees under your shoulders and hips, respectively.
- Raise one arm straight in front of your body, then the other leg straight behind.
- Stay in the position for five seconds.
- Repeat three to five times on each side of the body.
Supports or Braces
You can also get a support or brace if you have a hypermobile SI joint. Try wrapping a pelvic brace around your waist, then pull it into a comfortable position for a steady joint. Additionally, this brace may support an inflamed and aching SI joint.
Weight & Nutrition Management
Like any chronic lower back condition, maintaining a healthy weight and diet can help you manage SI joint dysfunction. You can start with an anti-inflammatory diet that also supports weight loss.
Fruits and vegetables, food rich in omega-3, whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, and spices comprise anti-inflammatory diets. More importantly, going on these diets could mean avoiding processed food, red meat, and alcohol, or consuming less of them.
Correct a Misaligned Sacrum Naturally
The SI joint is prone to misalignment caused by excessive or restricted motion, injury, and other risk factors. Natural treatment options like chiropractic care are worth considering if you want to ease the symptoms of a misaligned SI joint. These treatments can help correct dysfunction, reduce pain, and increase mobility, ensuring you can still do your favorite activities.
Are you leaning toward a healthier lifestyle? Start your journey with helpful health and nutrition tips. Get them from the LifeClinic blog today.