What is a Sacroiliac Sprain?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2018
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A sacroiliac sprain is a sprain in the sacroiliac joint, which connects the spine and pelvis. This joint is a critical part of the body, providing support and stability which allows people to walk upright. The joint is surrounded by a number of tough ligaments and muscles which are designed to stabilize it. When these muscles are strained, a patient can develop a sacroiliac sprain.

Pregnancy can sometimes lead to a sacroiliac sprain, because pregnant women secrete a hormone which relaxes the bones and ligaments of the pelvis in preparation for labor and delivery. Strains can also be caused by heavy lifting. If people lift improperly, without adequate bracing and support, they can strain ligaments in a variety of parts of the body, including the sacroiliac joint. Stress from poor posture and strenuous physical exercise can also lead to this type of sprain.

There are two sacroiliac joints, one on either side of the body. The classic symptom of a sprain is one-sided pain, which may radiate around the pelvis and travel down the leg. The area is usually inflamed, and may feel stiff in addition to painful. Patients may have trouble walking, and they tend to favor the injured side, which can lead to a limp. This may cause additional problems, as the body is engineering for two-legged walking, and the unequal distribution of weight could strain the body.


Sacroiliac sprains are often mistaken for sciatica, because the two conditions have similar symptoms. Several diagnostic tests can be performed to distinguish the two, including a physical examination which may include gentle manipulation of the joint. Treatment may involve the administration of anti-inflammatory drugs, by injection if the inflammation is severe, along with pain management medications. The patient also undergoes physical therapy, including gentle exercises which can be done at home to help build up strength in the strained muscles and ligaments.

Doctors who specialize in disorders of the musculoskeletal system are more attuned to the signs of a sacroiliac sprain. Medical practitioners such as physical therapists and chiropractors are also familiar with the symptoms of this condition, and may offer treatment recommendations to patients. If a patient has been diagnosed with sciatica and has received no relief from treatment, it may be worth a visit to another medical provider to determine if the sciatica is actually a sacroiliac sprain. Many sprains are easily resolved with treatment, restoring normal levels of physical activity and comfort.


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Post 4

I am an anesthesiologist. I am getting discomfort and mild to moderate pain of different severity at different times of day in right sacroiliac joint since three weeks. Two weeks of physiotherapy with ultrasound and hot pack heat could not help . H/O Similar attack 5 years back which was relieved by physiotherapy at that time. Please suggest the management for sacroiliac discomfort and exercises for strengthening the sacroiliac joints .

Post 3

Most of my job is sitting at a desk in front of the computer all day. I don't have the best posture anyway, and this does not help. I think that is what was causing most of the sacroiliac pain I was experiencing down my leg and in my lower back.

I changed computer chairs and really began having problems. My doctor told me that an abrupt change like this can often cause problems. She said it is better if you can make that type of change slowly over time to give your body a chance to adjust.

Who would have thought that something so simple as changing chairs would make such a difference.

Post 2

I was having radiating pain going down my leg and when I went to the doctor was told I had sacroiliac joint pain. I had never heard of it before, but it was quite painful and at times it could be debilitating.

I began taking some medication, but I think the physical therapy is what helped me the most. I went for several weeks, and was consistent about doing exercises at home too. Sometimes it hurt worse when going through the therapy, but eventually I was able to work through it and get rid of the pain.

Post 1

When I was pregnant I suffered with sciatic nerve pain that was eventually diagnosed as a a Sacroiliac Joint Sprain. I know that your body goes through many hormonal changes when you are pregnant, but I never realized it could cause something like that.

As my pregnancy advanced I had to be very careful when I walked, sat up, laid down, etc so I would not further aggravate it. I didn't want to take any kind of pain medication, so really had to be careful.

I have not had any trouble with it since my pregnancies. It happened both times, but at least I knew what was going on the second time around.

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