Pain in the groin, legs and back due to overloaded SI joint

There is a fairly rigid joint at the bottom of the back between the spine and the legs and is connected to the pelvis. This is called the sacroiliac joint and ensures the transfer of all weight to the legs. This means that the joint is subject to a lot of stress as standard. Despite the fact that it is a rigid connection, it can move, partly due to extreme loads. What function does the joint have and what complaints can occur in the event of extreme overload?

Overloaded SI joint

  • Characteristic complaints
  • Influence of heavy work
  • Intensive sports can cause a lot of inconvenience
  • Relationship with pelvic instability


Characteristic complaints

If the back is overloaded, most complaints occur in the joint. Lifting too much, walking out of balance, a big belly, etc. can cause painful complaints. In a large proportion of people with lower back problems, it is caused by problems with this joint. It may mean that the ligaments around the joint have been overloaded, creating space for movement. The joint can therefore partly pop out, causing more pressure on the joint, resulting in a lot of pain. This is because the joint itself, the tendons and ligaments are put under additional pressure, causing weight or walking load to be incorrectly transferred to the pelvis. Normally the pain will only occur on one side, because it is virtually impossible for the connection to both legs to be affected at the same time. Please note that overload can be caused by chronic strain, but can also be caused by an unfortunate fall or an unusual movement.

Influence of heavy work

Several professions can be taxing on the body. Think of ground workers or workers who have to lift a lot of weight. Technically speaking, occupational health and safety measures must often be taken to accommodate this, so that the body is not burdened too much. Even though the body carries relatively small loads, a continuous small load will affect the flexibility of joints. This may not only concern the SI joint, but specific problems with this joint can cause significant pain. In that case, the groin will hurt, with pain shooting up the legs. It radiates to just above the knees. The combination of pain makes people prefer not to move anymore. Because the joint is at the bottom of the vertebra, fairly standard lower back pain will also apply. It can potentially lead to pain in the entire spine up to and including severe headaches.

Intensive sports can cause a lot of inconvenience

Frequent and prolonged running places a continuous impact load on the joint. Each step means that weight must be absorbed, which places a structural load on the connection. The joint is made for standard running and walking, but intensive training or extremely long running is not what it is built for. If it is done, it often happens that the rider develops lower back complaints on one side.

Relationship with pelvic instability

In pregnant women, problems can arise between the 3rd and 7th month. The hormone relaxin (relaxing) causes muscles to relax, reducing tension on the joint. It ensures that the baby has enough space to go outside during birth. The problem during those months is the prevention of pelvic instability, which sometimes means that the pregnant woman has to stay in bed for a long time. Please note that the joint is normally rigid, but due to the weakening effect, a lot of space is created in the joint. The SI joint must therefore be relieved during the difficult months before childbirth. After birth, the joint will recover if the level of relaxin decreases.
If you have pain in the groin area that radiates into the legs and lower back, it may be caused by an overloaded or damaged SI joint. Always undergo a medical examination and follow the advice of the treating physician. Also have yourself examined for possible incorrect posture, because this could be a sign of sciatica.

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