What Causes Sacroiliac Dysfunction?

Sacroiliac dysfunction is often caused by too much or too little movement in the sacroiliac joints. These joints connect the spine to the pelvis. Injury, arthritis, or pregnancy can lead to this condition, affecting joint stability and causing pain.

Understanding the causes of sacroiliac dysfunction is crucial for effective management and treatment. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the factors contributing to this condition, including injurypregnancyarthritisrepetitive motionmuscle imbalanceligament laxitytraumaoverusejoint degeneration, and infection.

Injury and Trauma

Injuries and trauma are among the leading causes of sacroiliac dysfunction. A fall, car accident, or any impact that directly affects the hips or lower back can disrupt the normal function of the sacroiliac joints. Such incidents can lead to immediate pain and discomfort, signaling a potential issue with these joints. It’s not uncommon for individuals to experience sacroiliac dysfunction following an injury, even after other symptoms have subsided.

Pregnancy and Ligament Laxity

Pregnancy significantly impacts the sacroiliac joints due to the natural changes a woman’s body undergoes. The hormone relaxin, which increases during pregnancy, causes ligaments to become more lax to prepare the body for childbirth. This increased laxity can lead to instability in the sacroiliac joints, causing pain and discomfort. Additionally, the added weight and altered center of gravity during pregnancy can exacerbate stress on these joints, further contributing to dysfunction.

Arthritis and Joint Degeneration

Arthritis is a common condition that can lead to sacroiliac dysfunction. Both osteoarthritis, which results from wear and tear over time, and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition, can affect the sacroiliac joints. Arthritis leads to inflammation, pain, and eventual degeneration of the joint, causing decreased mobility and function.

Repetitive Motion and Overuse

Engaging in activities that involve repetitive motion of the hips and lower back can lead to overuse of the sacroiliac joints. Athletes, dancers, and individuals with physically demanding jobs are particularly at risk. This continuous strain can cause the joints to become irritated and inflamed, leading to dysfunction. It’s essential for individuals in these professions to take preventive measures, such as proper stretching and strengthening exercises, to minimize the risk.

Muscle Imbalance

Muscle imbalance around the pelvis and lower back can lead to sacroiliac dysfunction. When certain muscles are weaker or tighter than others, it can cause abnormal stress on the sacroiliac joints. This imbalance often results from poor posture, improper lifting techniques, or neglecting certain muscle groups during exercise. Addressing muscle imbalances through targeted exercises and physical therapy can help alleviate stress on the sacroiliac joints.


Though less common, infections can also cause sacroiliac dysfunction. An infection in the sacroiliac joint, known as septic sacroiliitis, can lead to pain, swelling, and reduced mobility. This condition requires prompt medical attention to prevent further complications. Infections might originate from other areas of the body and spread to the sacroiliac joints through the bloodstream.

Managing Sacroiliac Dysfunction

Understanding the underlying causes of sacroiliac dysfunction is the first step in managing this condition. Treatment options vary depending on the specific cause and severity of the dysfunction but may include physical therapy, medication to reduce inflammation and pain, and in some cases, surgery. Lifestyle modifications, such as maintaining a healthy weight, practicing good posture, and engaging in regular, low-impact exercise, can also play a crucial role in managing and preventing sacroiliac dysfunction.

For those suffering from sacroiliac dysfunction, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and tailored treatment plan. Early intervention can prevent the condition from worsening and help individuals maintain an active, pain-free lifestyle.

In conclusion, sacroiliac dysfunction can result from a variety of factors, including injury, pregnancy, arthritis, repetitive motion, muscle imbalance, ligament laxity, trauma, overuse, joint degeneration, and infection. By understanding these causes and adopting preventative and management strategies, individuals can effectively address sacroiliac dysfunction and improve their quality of life.