Back, butt, or leg pain? What is really causing it…

Do you or someone you know suffer from lower back, butt or/and pain down the leg? In this blog I would like to explain where these pains may be coming from and explain how Physiotherapy treatment and Clinical Pilates can help you become free from these pains.


Lower Back Pain

Pain in the lower back can be a result of injury or postural issue of your ligaments, discs, joints and muscles in the lower back. The pain will be in the lower back area, pictured below:

Buttock Pain

Pain in your buttock can be coming from the ligaments and muscles located in the butt/pelvic area or from the Sacroiliac joint (SIJ). It can also be referred from the lower back if the nerves and joints there are injured. The location of pain may look like this:

Leg Pain

This is commonly referred to as sciatica, which means pain radiating down the leg, due to the compression of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back all the way down to your foot. A compressed nerve in your lower back can cause this pain, or the compression of the sciatic nerve in your buttock muscles, or the pain can be referring from your SIJ.

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction & Pain
Where is the Sacroiliac Joint?

The sacroiliac joint connects the last segment of the spine, the sacrum, to the pelvis.  Its function is much like the suspension in your car; it cushions the impact when your foot lands during walking and running.

The integrity of the sacroiliac joint depends on strong ligaments that encase and cover the joint.  These ligaments compress and stabilize the joint. The muscles surrounding the SI joint are also very important for allowing the correct amount of movement and stability, at the right times during walking and running.

How does the Sacroiliac Joint Cause Lower Back Pain?

The ligaments that encase the sacroiliac joint, some of which also attach to the lumbar spine, may be disrupted due to injury and they can become inflamed. Tight or weak hip and pelvic muscles can also put pressure on SI ligaments and joints. This is usually due to poor posture or not doing enough of the correct exercises.

Sometimes this joint will become too ‘stiff’ or ‘stuck’ or too mobile. You may also feel like your hips/pelvis is ‘out’ or that one feels higher than the other.

Sometimes the SI joint doesn’t actually hurt, but it can be what we term ‘dysfuntional’. Due to the close proximity of the SI joint to the lower back and hips, you can have pain in these areas.

How Do the Symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Pain Present?

The most common symptom of sacroiliac joint disorders is pain in the lower back, buttock and legs.  This can present as sciatica like symptoms (leg pain, burning, numbness, and tingling) that mimic lumbar disc or radicular low back pain, pain that radiates down into the legs.  (See the pictures above for buttock and lower back pain).

Treating your lower back, buttock, or leg pain.

Your physiotherapist can do simple movement based tests to determine what the cause of your pain is and treat the problem accordingly.

In particular, the Embody physiotherapists are all trained in the Mulligan technique for the treatment of SI joint pain and dysfunction. This technique is painless, simple and very effective.

Clinical Pilates is also a great way of rehabilitating the lower back and SI joints. It strengthens the muscles around this area as well as helping to create balance and flexibility.

So book your appointment at Embody now to stop putting up with a pain in the butt!

Written by Karolina Nesterowicz (Physiotherapist, Clinical Pilates Instructor,  & Director of Embody Physiotherapy + Pilates)


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