May 30, 2024

F1000 Scientist

Health to Life

Back Pain in Sports Players – Can it Be Sacro-Iliac Joint Dysfunction?

Many of the football players treated by Milton Chiropractic Clinic present to our clinic with Sacro-Iliac pain. Often, pain arising from this joint is misdiagnosed as being a “slipped disc”, since the pain caused by the Sacro-Illiac joint can refer into the leg. But in contrast to a slipped disc, the pain rarely radiates below the knee. Typical signs and symptoms of Sacro-Iliac Pain are a dull ache, located at the base of the spine which intensifies with sitting, bending, lifting and standing up from a seated position. Sometimes the pain can refer to the groin, buttock or the back of the thigh.

The Sacro-Iliac joints are located at the back and bottom of the spine and consists of Ilium bones and the Sacrum. The joint surfaces are covered with articular cartilage and the joints are reinforced by thick, strong ligaments, which give the joint great stability.

Sacro-Iliac Joint pain can have several causes, but the one of the most commonest ones is when a person lands on one buttock, during a fall. Something not uncommon in football! A leg length discrepancy might also create Sacro-Iliac pain.

Some inflammatory disorders will also produce pain in the Sacro Iliac joint. The general term for these disorders is: ‘spondyloarthropathies’, which simply means a disease that affects the spine. Examples of these conditions are: ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and Reiter’s syndrome. The interesting thing about these conditions for the medical staff is is that they occur especially in young men, aged between 16 and 35. These conditions can only be treated with medication, and a referral to a Consultant Rheumatologist is required.

Treatment: What Can You Do?

• Consult a specialist

• Rest from aggravating activities

• Wear some support, like a brace or a belt

• Do light exercises, preferably in a pool

• Use corrective insoles

Chiropractic Care is very effective where normal Sacro Iliac joint movement is ‘blocked’ and needs to be restored. By restoring movement and unlocking the joint, abnormal stresses on the ligaments around the joint will be removed. Once normal Sacro Iliac joint movement has been restored, active rehabilitation exercises will be introduced. These exercises are very specific and will differ for each individual.

Rest from aggravating activities is of vital importance during an acute episode of pain. Ibuprofen, paracetamol or aspirin will also give some form of relief and should be considered during the initial stages of pain. Always consult a professional when taking any medication.

Corrective insoles

Sacro Iliac Joint Dysfunction can be caused by biomechanical factors, such as a difference in leg length or altered leg alignment. These causes must be addressed if someone is looking for long term relief. Custom made Orthotics can be helpful in these cases.

It is very important to differentiate Sacro-Illiac Joint Pain from a slipped disc or a herniated disc, since the management of these conditions differ quite a bit and can cause a long delay in improvement if treated inappropriately. It is therefore of vital importance to consult a professional when dealing with back problems.