Also known as Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction, Sacroiliitis is a painful condition caused by inflammation of one or both of the sacroiliac joints. Although Sacroiliitis can affect both women and men, research suggests that due to differences in anatomy and body chemistry, sacroiliac joint dysfunction more likely to be experienced by women, especially during pregnancy.
What Causes Sacroiliitis?
Sacroiliitis can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are very similar to other painful conditions such as sciatica or disc herniation. It is caused by the inflammation of one or both of the sacroiliac joints. These joints connect the hip bones (ilia) to the tailbone (sacrum) and are responsible for the transfer of weight between the lower and upper body. A network of ligaments and muscles around the joint, stabilises and limits movement to the sacroiliac joints.
Why is Sacroiliitis Common During Pregnancy ?
Women are especially likely to suffer from Sacroiliac joint dysfunction during pregnancy due to the changes to the structure of the spine and the stresses placed on the spinal and hip joints at this time. The likelihood of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction increases if a woman has suffered from lower back pain before her pregnancy.
It is believed that a major cause of Sacroiliitis during pregnancy is linked to the release of the hormone relaxin. This hormone relaxes the connective tissues between joints and causes the hips to widen to accommodate the growing baby and in preparation for the birthing process. The loosening of the joints can create instability, leading to injury and pain in one or both of the Sacroiliac Joints.
Normal pregnancy weight places an additional strain upon the spinal joints, particularly the lower back and Sacroiliac Joints. Additionally, during pregnancy a woman’s centre of gravity shifts forward which increases the pressure on the Sacroiliac Joints, lower spine and hips. To accommodate the pregnancy, the body changes the way it moves and walks which in turn, causes the compressive forces on the hips to change and places further strain upon the joints.
How Can Osteopathy Be Used to Treat Sacroiliitis during Pregnancy?
Treatment for Sacroiliitis during pregnancy will vary depending upon the symptoms of individual but traditional osteopathictechniques may be used to realign muscles and ligaments and improve posture. Because osteopathy is non-invasive, drug free and gentle it is very suitable as a treatment during pregnancy and most patients find it very relaxing.
Symptoms of Sacroiliitis Include:
" I have been going to Helen for over 18 months now and have been delighted with the results. Over the years I have had various forms of treatment from different private health care therapists. These treatments have been expensive, with extremely short appointments and in the long term were ineffective. Helen’s treatments by contrast are half an hour or an hour long and have been extremely effective. The combination of traditional osteopathic manipulation and massage techniques that Helen uses alongside use of her flexomatic massage machine and the electrotherapy has been a great combination for me. Overall I’m delighted I found Helen…not only is she a great osteopath but she is also always very kind and welcoming."
K Bryson, Edinburgh