inflamed back joint...

hey guys- about 3 weeks ago at my team’s first meet of the season i started noticing irritation in my lower back. it has gotten progressively worse, extending down into my piraformis and glutes and all the way up the left side of my back. the joint between my sacrum and ilium is inflamed, making everything else clench. it’s mostly a dull ache, pretty tolerable, but it keeps my back very stiff. i have gotten it massaged, tried ice and heat and extra stretches, but it is still nagging. has anyone ever experienced this? i can’t pinpoint what activity makes it worse; i do realize that i hurdle, long jump, high jump, and come out of blocks all on one side, and i have a muscle imbalance from scoliosis, but this hasn’t been a problem in the past. any suggestions?

Who- evaluated the injury.

How- did the sports medicine expert evaluate the injury

What- Did you do training wise three weeks before the start of the training. Anything different or more?

…how many cooks involved with the training?

I went to the trainer at school who had me flex different muscles in my back and hip and did some feeling around, etc. to pinpoint the area. During November I did a lot of lifting, some tempo, and some workouts, nothing different or more. Unlike some other seasons, I have not been seeing any other coaches outside of school, so no overwork. The tight curves in the fieldhouse wreaked havoc on my left side for about a week, but the back pain started just before we started training in there. I have always had some kind of issue around my sacrum- when I lie down the area tightens up and is so painful that I can’t lie still for several minutes… a problem of the past year or so. Massage helped some of the seizing muscles feel better, but that joint area has not changed- I feel like it is deeper than massage can get to.


Scoliosis is most likely caused by a ligament laxity in your back thus providing no support for your spine which it inturn causes it to become crooked. This is my first guess. My other guess would be that the pryformi muscle could be spastic in your hip causing your sciatic nerve to become pinched. How long have you had these symptoms for. Do you ever have hip pain? If you school trainer had checked you out properly it would have involved searching for tender points along the spine. Evaluating your sitting and standing/positions ect…Maybe watching your walking mechanics. Tender points are almost always a sign that you have a ligament/ tendon weakness/laxity. This is a good sign however because this means your injury is treatable. Alot of people live with chronic pain long through retirement and dont know there are ways to treat it.

As for treatment I would reccomend starting off with a good analgesic. A product which is regarded highly among trainers, doctors, and physio’s is called biofreeze. Its not the same as the other cold gels. It was produced by a world famous botanical chemist and has a product ILEX in it. It also uses no waxes, no oils, ect. It feels cold on your skin. It is the most popular amoung good trainers. It circulates better then any other rub. I would then devise a supplement program of natural healers such as dhea, omege 3 fatty acids (cod liver oil), msn ect.

Istead of R.I.C.E. I would keep my back in motion to improving circulation. Nothing strenous. Epesicially for chronic pain. The next step but most important step would be to search for a natural pain medicine clinic who specialize in injection techniques such as prolotherapy (natural substances mixed with dextrose ect), neural therapy (procaine therapy) ect…They will evaluate you better then someone could do over the computer. Look for a good therapist. The skill of this procedures depends on how competant the therapist is. And to do as much reading as possible. Guzman, hackett, hausser to name a few. It is safe and the most effective thing we have in current medicine to treat injuries and chronic pain. Look into it.


dr. sprint- now that you mention it, I have had hamstring problems followed by hip flexor pain in the past. My back has been a problem for a long time, but this specific pain has been getting more intense over the past 3 weeks. thanks for the reply, very very helpful, thank you for taking the time.

almost forgot to mention- at this same meet, the high jump mats were very very soft, making my neck and shoulders very stiff and painful for a few days. i don’t know if my back is something which migrated up from the curves or my leg, or something that came down from my neck, or something else completely. i tend to think it came up, but obviously i don’t really know…

A good place to start your treatment would be finding a therapist who can determine the actual source of the pain, and the activities that aggravate your condition. I am really surprised that your school trainer did not try to determine whether your pain is originating from your piriformis muscle or low back “area”, as both could be contributing to the symptoms you are describing. However, it’s possible that the situation is a result of something not related to either structure. My first suggestion get both areas assessed and find out if either one is responsible. At this point your injury is probably a “chicken or egg” situation i.e. both are contributing factors. You mentioned your scoliosis hasn’t been a problem in the past, but I wouldn’t dismiss its possible contribution so readily.

after standing up at work for 5 hours today, the other side started to hurt in the same place. it starts right on top of the bony projection, in and around the joint, and then everything else seizes up… the piraformis and immediately surrounding lower back are worst, the rest of my back and hip seem to hurt just in reaction.
it has been tolerable enough to run with, but i can feel that it is not improving. at the moment i have no health insurance- seeing a specialist might not be practical unless it is reasonably priced for a high school senior out of pocket. any quick fixes for my meet on wednesday would be great… i can only look so far ahead right now.

How good is ur stretching regime generally and for ur hips post track ?

I’ve had a lot less problems generally and with my lower back since I’ve spent more time keeping this area loose .

I’m sorry to disagree with you dr.sprint, but scoliosis is most commonly caused by a leg length inequality and thus compensatory in nature. If ligamentous integrity is compromised unilaterally in a scoliotic spine, this is usually secondary and thus not the etiology.

Judging from the distribution of the pain I would, furthermore, suggest that it is not due to a spastic piriformis muscle impinging on the sciatic nerve but rather to nerve root irritation at the compromised sacroiliac joint, which I would therefore suspect to be the root cause of the whole problem.

The person to see for this kind of ailment would be a chiropractor, although you should make sure they take an x-ray before adjusting your SI joint, as a more serious etiology (e.g. herniated disk) than a simple (chiropractic) subluxation might be present.


Everyone has a right to their opinion.


i’m not sure I would say that this is the root of the problem, but i’m sure it plays a part. my stretching is (gasp- i admit it!) erratic, because as a former dancer I have not had many problems with flexibility. I do hurdle drills on a regular basis which helps loosen up the hips, but this may not be enough. i have been paying more attention to stretching hips and back since this problem has started. getting a massage and applying heat has helped the surrounding muscles, but seemed to do nothing and maybe even worsen the area right around that bony projection… does this indicate something as simple as an inflamed joint? i might have to suck it up and head for the chiro or another specialist… the stiffness is starting to affect me…

Money first. Healthcare last. Run by Government,its fair laws,the FDA,the Surgeon General and its illulustrious programs. Its motto “Keep the people in the dark for as long as we can; make as much money as we can till they catch on.”


meanwhile i avoid doctors at all costs because i can’t pay for it… what is the world coming to! :confused:


I wont call out any names but I will say that alot of doctors hide behind fancy medical terms that A) they dont understand the logic/reasoning behind what they are saying … B) they take words way out of context…or C) they just flat out dont understand the definition of the word and its suffix/prefix or derivitive. If you went through some of these posts and looked at the actual terms in context with a medical dictionary or websters dictionary you would come to the conclusion that some posters here have made monumental mistakes. Ill take one example from the thread we are on right now. The word “compensatory” was used improperly. Compensatory is defined as having equal properties to do with balance. Yet in a previous post it was used to describe a leg inequality. Wrong context, wrong definition ect. Just one example. In that same post unfornatanely they were more. Using big terms is a way to trick people into thinking you know something that you really don’t. I have had the opportunity of being around many people who I would say are in the elite class as far as intelligence goes. Yet they can explain complex theories so the average joe can understand. As for the therapies, such as prolotherpy, ect… they are relatively cheap and not covered by insurance, so if this was the route you were going to take you would not need insurance. These therapies are not well known because the FDA and co. don’t want you to know about them.


Dr. Sprint,

I would like to ask you to kindly try to understand other people’s posts before you make fun of them.

I congratulate you on having read up some things relating to health sciences, but that does not put you into a position to belittle people that are properly and formerly trained in this field.

If you want to go by dictionary definitions:

The Oxford English dictionary defines “to compensate”, from which the term “compensatory” is derived, as “to counterbalance”, recompense for, provide with a mechanism to neutralize effects…"

When health care providers talk about a compensatory scoliosis, they are thus referring to a scoliosis that occurs because of biomechanical problems somewhere else in the body. The most common of these causes is a pelvic tilt (which in turn is most commonly caused by a leg length inequality = one leg shorther than the other = extremely common) that forces the spine to curve in order to keep the head over the body’s centre of gravity. Almost every single person has some degree of such a compensatory scoliosis, but most cases are relatively low in degree and therefore of not much concern.

I had not, by the way, used the term compensatory “to describe a leg inequality” but had stated that a scoliosis can be a compensatory mechanism of the spine by which it tries to counteract the effects of a short leg.

Once a scoliosis is present, the ligaments on the convex (curved out) side of it might become stretched thus leading to compromised ligamentous integrity. This is, however, not the reason (etiology) for the scoliosis but one of its outcomes.

Concerning your claim that “tender points are almost always a sign that you have a ligament/ tendon weakness/laxity”; this is also not correct.

Almost every person you come across has such tender points along their spine, and hardly any one of them are caused by ligamentous weakness.

Furthermore, a weak or lax ligament does not present clinically with pain unless an acute inflammation is present. According to your theory, people with hypermobile joints should be in constant pain.

Thirdly, due to the anatomy of your vertebrae most of the ligaments that help maintain the upright position of your spine are not palpable, i.e. they cannot be felt from the body’s surface. Even if they are not only stretched but also acutely inflamed, they will thus not present as “tender points along you spine”.

If you have such tender points along your spine they are most commonly due to problems in your spinal errector muscles and if that is not the case to inflammations in your so-called zygapophyseal or vertebral facet joints.

If you have a look at some of my previous posts on recovery and regeneration you will find that I usually explain things in a way very much understandable to scientifically untrained people.

The only reason why I chose to change this in my previous post was because I was trying to talk to you in the same language you had used in your own post. Your misreading of my post, however, tells me that this experiment unfortunately failed and caused you to have problems in following my arguments.

I would also like to ask you to point out the other alleged inaccuracies in my previous post, so I can explain to you, in a language everyone can understand, what I meant by them and why they are not inaccurate at all.

To Madeleine: If your nerve roots are impinged at your sacroilliac joint, all the other symptoms you describe can be a result of this. This is why I would suspect the root cause of the problem to lie at this SI joint. This problem will most probably not get better if you don’t get proffesional help for it. As mentioned above, I would first go to a chiro with something like this. Maybe you can sell one of your blankets to pay for the fees. :wink:


You’re in a tough situation since financially you can’t seek outside help from a PT or Chiro. I am guessing you’re in high school? Make the athletic trainer earn their paycheck. It’s their job to deal with issues like this. From what you have posted, which is all I have to go on, it sounds like your trainers experience and knowledge is questionable. However, even fresh out of AT school they should be able to handle what sounds like a fairly manageable problem. At least for now is manageable….

This is why healthcare has made no improvements.


I dont come from a family of harvard professors for nothing. My theory as you would claim although it isnt mine happens to be right. For those of you that dont understand what Im saying…current medical practice is full of bogus lies, myths, and misconceptions. They dont even understand how to heal the human body. Look at the yearly deaths caused by anti-imflammatories. They think that by giving you an anti imflammatories it will reduce imflammation and trigger the healing process. But in reality it inhibits the process. The concept of the body heals itself by imflammation has flown past the medical field.



I don’t understand how having well educated people in someone’s family can verify one’s own statements and hypotheses. If those people are Harvard professors in a health science field, they will, by the way, also reject your ideas. Repeating a theory over and over again without providing any evidence for it doesn’t make it correct either. If such a theory contradicts very basic principles of anatomy and physiology, this also indicates that it cannot be the last word on the issue.

Your theories seem to be largely based on statements made on web-pages promoting the use of prolo-therapy. This therapy, although rejected by most medical doctors, is surely not without merit, and I have indeed suggested it to people in the past. It is not, however, a panacea, and telling everyone who has some kind of problem with their musculoskelatal system to go and get prolo-therapy can be dangerous if these people are trusting enough to follow this advise.

In any health science degree the first thing you learn about inflammation is that it is the body’s way of healing itself.

My field of training is chiropractic science, and chiropractors reject the overuse of anti-inflammatories as well.

However, inflammation is a non-specific defense response and can thus be inappropriate for certain types of injuries. You don’t need all the white blood cells that are attracted to a site of injury in inflammatory processes, for example, if the injury is sterile (e.g. muscular injuries).

Furthermore, common problems such as rheumatoid arthritis are due to an inappropriate reaction of your immune system against your own body cells (auto-immune response) thus leading to painful inflammatory processes that serve no real purpose. Allergic reactions are also exaggerated immune responses causing sometimes life-threatening degrees of inflammation.

You cannot simply disregard everything medical science says just because some of it might be debatable.