The Sacroiliac joint is the connection of bones that joins the spine to the pelvis. The sacrum, which is a triangular shaped bone that sits at the lower part of the spine, is connected to the right and left ilium bones. This important joint supports the entire weight of the body when we are standing upright. The joint is considered immovable because it is held together with strong ligaments, but it is still subject to movement forces. The Sacroiliac joint is designed to help prevent the force of movement from activities like twisting, walking, and running, from impacting the spine.
However, sometimes the movement forces on the Sacroiliac joint can damage the joint and the ligaments, fracture the bones in the joint, or cause damage in nerves that radiate from the joint into the hips and legs. Automobile accidents can cause extreme strain on the joint and could lead to damage. Many people pay close attention to pain in the upper spine during car accidents, the so-called whiplash injury, but car accidents can lead to lower back injuries as well, and can cause problems with the Sacroiliac joint.
Even a car accident as minor as a fender bender can stretch out the ligaments that comprise the Sacroiliac joint, causing swelling, inflammation and pain in the lower back, down the hips and buttocks area. A car accident can also dislocate the Sacroiliac joint. The rapid stops involved in car accidents can displace the bones in the joint, causing ligaments to strain. Even minor trauma to the joint can result in a variety of pain symptoms and limitations to mobility, including:
- - Difficulty standing up from a seated position, turning over in bed, tying shoes, and pain getting in and out of a car.
- - ching in the lower back after sitting or driving for long periods.
- - Numbness and tingling in the legs.
- - Pain in the buttock, hips and lower back area. This pain can range from aches to sharper pains that make movement difficult.
- - Pain that can radiate out into the groin.
Car accidents can even fracture the Sacroiliac joint. Combined with the above symptoms, a fracture of the Sacroiliac joint can result in the following painful symptoms:
- - A grinding sensation in the joint
- - Difficulty or inability bearing weight.
- - Pain will increase greatly with activity.
Injury to the Sacroiliac joint as a result of a car accident can be treated in a number of ways:
- - Physical therapy can help restore ligament strength.
- - If physical therapy fails, cortisone injections may be necessary.
- - Some injuries may respond to tissue massages on the back.
- - Milder injuries can respond to ice and cold therapy/compress therapy.
- - Electrotherapy treatment in a physical therapy setting can relieve pain.
- - Reducing pressure on the sacrum by sitting on chairs or pillows.
- - Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory painkillers are helpful, but in more severe injuries, steroids may be used, as well as narcotic painkillers
- - For the most severe injuries to the Sacroiliac joint in a car accident, surgery may be needed.