What Is Iliac Crest Pain? 8 All-inclusive Answers

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Ever since computers came to be, Iliac crest pain is something that a lot of people started experiencing. A question might arise as to how do computers cause the iliac crest pain? To get the answer to that question, you must understand what Iliac crest pain is. 

In this article, I am going to tell you all about the iliac crest pain, all the things that can cause it, things that will help you from the pain, the treatment of it, and a lot of different things that will help you understand it and what you can do to avoid it.

But before we get to that, let us talk about how the lifestyle in recent times is causing things that would not normally happen. What I am talking about is the lack of physical activity. As I said, computers could be blamed for this issue, not entirely, but they do cause some problems.

The most prominent issue caused by computers that I will be discussing in this article is hip pain or what you might think of as hip pain. When you sit in front of the computers without getting up for multiple hours, it puts strain on your lower back.

What computers or the latest technology of smartphones and laptops are doing is that they keep the kids and adults trapped within their digital world. It might be for work but that is no excuse to not participate in some physical activity because if you are willing enough, you can always take some time out of your life to keep yourselves fit and healthy.

Being physically fit keeps you healthy not just physically but mentally too but we will discuss that topic in some other article. For now, let us get to know more about iliac crest pain.

 

Is Lower Back/ Hip Pain The Cause Of Iliac Crest Pain?

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As I said, if you sit in front of screens for a long time and barely do any physical activity, it is going to affect your body in a bad way. You might have heard complaints from people who are old about how they have difficulty sitting because of some pain in their lower back or in the hips.

That pain can be caused due to the weakness in muscles around the hips. The weakness in the muscles comes from a lack of physical activity or old age. There are other causes as well but we need not go too deep into that in this article.

When people experience these pains, they might sometimes get misinformed and might be led to believe that it is the iliac crest pain when it might just be the weak muscles. What an iliac crest pain does is that it makes moving difficult, i.e., it takes away your mobility, you can still move but it’ll be painful.

When talking to the patients with this issue, they were asked about the nature of the pain and it was found out that different people experienced different kinds of pain. Iliac crest pain is not exactly the pain people feel in the muscles.

This pain happens because of a bone about which we are going to talk about in the next sub-topic. There are a lot of nerves and muscles that are attached to the iliac crest which results in the feeling of pain. Because of that reason, people can feel the pain in some areas other than the hips as well.

Now that you have some idea as to what iliac crest pain might be or how being immobile can cause you hip pains, let us move onto our main topic of discussion.

 

What Is The Iliac Crest?

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When you talk about the iliac crest pain, you must know that it is something that happens around your pelvic region. To be specific, the iliac crest is a part of the bony pelvis or the hip bone. The iliac crest is a part of the ilium which is the biggest bone amongst the 3 bones that form the pelvis.

The iliac crest is the portion of the ilium that is at the top side of the hip bone and it is near to the skin. The part that this iliac crest form looks like a wing on the pelvis bones. If you want to know the specific position of the iliac crest, think of the bony part inside of your flesh where you place your hands when you rest them on the hips.

The hip bone is made from 3 bones majorly which are the ilium, the ischium, and the pubis. The ilium bone is the biggest bone of the hip as I mentioned before and it is the topmost bone as well. This bone can be found in all animals that are mammals and birds as well that have vertebrates.

The second bone is the ischium bone that makes up the lower part of the hip and it is located below the ilium and can be monumental in giving you hip ache at certain times as well. This bone fuses with the other two to form the hip and it makes up the ⅓ rd of the acetabulum.

The last bone is the pubis but it does not affect pain in the hips but if you get some pain in your pubis, it will still be very painful for that region. Now that you know the structure of the hip and the iliac crest, let us move on,

 

What Is The Function Of The Iliac Crest?

The hip bone as a whole gives strength and provides support to the spine and the other nearby organs and gives them stability as well. The iliac crest is joined to the oblique muscles and that is the reason why your iliac crest pain can spread to other parts near your hip and the lower back, especially your muscles in that region.

Because the pain spreads to some other parts, it is often hard to tell whether you are getting pain in the hip region, on the iliac crest, or just on some other part. This iliac crest pain can spread to parts like the lower back, the abdomen, and even to the groin. The place where you feel the pain will depend on the cause of the pain.

Some places that the iliac crest is connected to are:

    Gluteus maximus: Gluteus maximus of the hip is an exterior muscle of the hip and it can be called one of the outermost muscles in the gluteal muscles. This muscle is responsible for giving the shape to the hip as it is a very fleshy area and makes up most of the buttocks.

    Abdominal Muscles: The iliac crest pain can transfer to the abdominal muscles like the transversus abdominals, the rectus abdominis, the external oblique muscles as well as the internal oblique muscles.

    Latissimus dorsi: The latissimus dorsi is the biggest muscle in the upper body and it helps in the extension, adduction, transverse extension, flexion from an extended position as well as the internal rotation of the shoulder joint.

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These are not the only parts that the iliac crest pain can spread to, there are other parts as well that will restrict your mobility if pain reaches there. So, it is essential that you take care of yourself.

 

Feeling The Iliac Crest Pain

As I mentioned before, if you get iliac crest pain, your mobility would be compromised. You would still be able to move but it would not be without pain. As I said, the iliac crest is connected to many muscles and nerves, which is the reason why the iliac crest pain will spread to other parts of the body.

The part where you will feel the pain or the parts that can be potentially affected by the iliac crest pain can have various different causes. However, if you want to identify this easily, the most prominent way is to figure it out based on the pain you feel in the lower back of your body. Lower back pain is one of the most common symptoms of iliac crest pain.

Lower back pain is the most common type of iliac crest pain that gets correlated to chronic pain of the lower back. If a person gets pain in the iliac crest, they will feel some stiffness or tenderness in the surrounding area of the iliac crest that will feel like they are getting hip ache but that might not be the root of the problem.

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Iliac Crest Pain Can Cause Difficulty In Moving

As I mentioned earlier, this pain in the iliac crest can spread to various parts that will include the upper part of the leg, the buttocks area, and even in the groin region besides the abdominal muscles and other body parts as well. The pain that spreads to these parts can result in muscle spasms and swelling as well, which might be a cause of trauma.

As the iliac crest pain might spread to the leg muscles, groin and buttocks as well and that will cause difficulty in walking and sitting and just any movement that involves the lower half of the body.  

The things that might result in sharp pains in your body can be caused by:

    Moving the legs: When you move your legs to do activities like walking or crawling, you might feel a spike of pain in the groin region or the upper legs.

    Moving your hips: If your hips are moved when you are under the iliac crest pain, you might get sharp muscle pains or ache in the bones of your hips as well.

    Lumbar Spine: If you bend or twist your back you will feel pain in the lumbar spine which is basically the lower part of your spine that supports the upper body. This will be obvious because of the iliac crest pain.

When you feel pain near the lower back of your body, as in around the pelvic area, the pain can last for a long time, it can be there constantly, it can come at random intervals or you might feel it only if you move a certain part of your hip or bend a certain way, there is no telling how the pain might appear so it is important that you get some treatment for it.

 

Things That Can Cause Iliac Crest Pain

There are a lot of things, some simple and some complex, that can cause pain in the iliac crest. The iliac crest pain is a very common thing in people of old age. Even people who are regular participants in sports can get this issue even if they are physically fit.

 

Some of the minor causes of the iliac crest pain include

  •     Weak muscle strength like lower back and abdominal muscles
  •     Weak hip flexors
  •     Due to pregnancy or even childbirth
  •     Being sexually active
  •     An injury that puts pressure on the hips
  •     Some medical condition that can cause problems in the pelvic region
  •     Some accident involving the hip bones

 

These things, like playing sports or being sexually active or pregnant are something that happens regularly or semi-regularly. Other things like injuries or accidents as well as weakness in the muscles or the bones can be a big cause of the iliac crest pain too.

Strong muscles are a must if the joints are to be given ample support to function. If the muscles are weak, like the muscles in the abdomen or the muscles in the lower back and surrounding the hip area, then you will experience pain and would not be able to carry out the daily tasks as you used to.

Trauma is something that causes this issue in a lot of individuals. If the hip or the pelvic region undergoes trauma, there would be a hint of tenderness in the hip bones and the surrounding muscles.

This will cause pain in the hip area as well and obviously, it will give rise to the iliac crest pain. Trauma to the hip usually occurs when a person falls down hard on their bottom or to be more precise, if they land on their iliac crest, either on the front side of it or on the upper area of it, not exactly on the bottom.

 

Major/ Complex Things Can Cause Iliac Crest Pain

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

The sacroiliac joint is the joint that joins the sacrum to the pelvic or hip bones. This joint is a triangular bone that is placed between the lumbar spine and the coccyx. If this joint gets damaged or inflammation happens in it, you might get pain in the lower back and the surrounding body parts.

The sacroiliac joint can get damaged by a lot of things including aging, exercise, arthritis, etc. The pain you might feel due to this will originate in either side of the lower back and the buttocks and then spread to the hip, groin, and thighs as well.

The dysfunction of this joint can cause a lot of issues other than pain as well. A person can feel numbness or a tingling sensation in their legs due to this and it will cause weakness in the legs as well, which will make it hard for you to move your legs and you would not be able to go up or down a flight of stairs.

 

Ilium Apophysitis

An apophysitis is a kind of growth plate that works as a place of conjunction for muscles in the hip area. You can call it the origin of the bones as the bones grow out from these, hence the name growth plates. This is also the area of the bone that becomes hard after everything else and that is the reason the apophysitis is soft in kids and youngsters.

That is the reason that the apophysitis sometimes grows weak or tends to break easily if an extra strain is put on it and it is pulled time after time while the kids are doing some physical activity like playing some sport. This can cause inflammation and irritation in the growth plate and in some rare cases, it gets pulled off from the bone.

This will heal with time but when it occurs, it is going to be painful. The ilium apophysitis usually happens with kids and people whose bodies haven’t completely aged. This happens if the growth plate is used a lot and hence will result in some sort of ache at the forefront of the pelvic bone.

Swelling, tenderness, etc. might also occur and if you keep overexerting yourself, the pain will just get worse. So it is advisable that you immediately stop any physical activity and consult a doctor.

 

Gluteus Medius Pain

The pain or sensitivity and tenderness that you might feel in the lateral part of the pelvic bones can be a symptom of a gluteus Medius muscle tear. This can cause iliac crest pain and can result in the reduced flow of blood and reduction in flexibility, mobility, etc.

Pain in the gluteus Medius muscle can also result in the reduced functioning of the nerves and muscles around the iliac crest and that will definitely cause iliac crest pain.

 

Piriformis Syndrome

When a muscle is put under strain and becomes kind of very tight, it can cause a tear in the muscle. When a muscle tear happens, additional strain is put upon the sciatic nerves that make the ache spread to the whole of the pelvic bones and the buttocks as well.

The piriformis syndrome can happen when someone is exerting a lot of pressure on their body which happens usually when you exercise or play a physically exhausting sport. This pressure when put on the hips will cause the muscles to tear as is seen many times when people stretch a muscle.

 

Iliolumbar Syndrome

The iliolumbar syndrome is commonly known as the iliac crest pain syndrome. This syndrome occurs when the iliolumbar ligament undergoes a tear. The iliolumbar ligament can undergo a tear because of various reasons but the most prominent amongst them is repeatedly twisting the ligament.

It does not necessarily have to be just twisting, if the ligament undergoes bending motions, the ligament can be torn. The reason this might happen can be also because of an accident you underwent that resulted in the ligament experiencing some trauma. The kind of accident can be similar to what I have mentioned before, as in falling hard on your pelvis.

Talking about the symptoms of the iliolumbar syndrome, it can be identified when you feel sharp pains in the lower part of your back. As is the case with the other issues related to the iliac crest pain, this pain can spread from the lower back to the hip bones and then to the groin region as well. If you twist or bend yourself, there is a good chance that the pain will get worse.

 

Cancer In The Bones

Iliac crest pain can be caused by cancers in the bone as well. Although it should be noted that the iliac crest pain caused by cancers is extremely rare and does not usually happen to people.

When a person gets iliac crest pain, the cause of the pain will most probably be the other cause that I have mentioned in this article. 

Now that you know about the causes of the iliac crest pain let us move on to the things you can do to treat the pain.

 

Treatment Methods Of the Iliac Crest Pain

Like with any physical pain, the iliac crest pain can be treated too. The method of treatment or the treatment options depends heavily on what is causing the pain in the first place. It is also going to depend on how severe the pain is and after all these things are established, one can begin the treatment of the pain.

Although these things might sound complicated and the treatment more so, there are certain things that you can do at home to provide a certain amount of relief to the pain. These are the things you can do to treat the pain at home:

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Resting

It might sound lame but resting actually helps. If you do not rest and keep putting pressure on the affected part, it will just make things worse and you absolutely do not want that.

If the cause of the pain is minor, the pain will go away in a few days if you get ample rest. Under no circumstances should you put unnecessary weight or pressure on your pelvic bones.

 

Use Ice

Like with some other sorts of injuries, ice helps ease the pain of the iliac crest as well. When you apply ice to the area where you are feeling the pain, it can help you in reducing the inflammation and will also make some amount of the pain go away. Use ice by putting it in a cloth and then tie the ice pack to the affected area.

It would be a great idea to apply the ice pack and rest both at the same time. I mean, anyone with some amount of common sense will do that. You can apply an ice pack over the affected area for 15 minutes at times. You should use an ice pack at least 3 times every day.

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Compressing The Affected Area

If you do not want to use ice for some reason or want to use something else along with ice, you can opt for the cold compresses that are easily available to be bought on the online fitness and health stores.

When you use a compress over the affected area, it will reduce the swelling over the area. Another way to get rid of the swelling would be to keep the affected area at a higher altitude than where your heart is, it might be a bit uncomfortable but it is worth it.

If you want to take some medication, you can consult your doctor or can simply take ibuprofen or something similar that will help in reducing the pain that you are feeling.

 

Stretching

Stretching can be a good option too if the pain is being caused by something that is not a muscle tear. Once the pain has gone away, you can start by stretching the muscles slowly. Keep in mind that you should not overexert the muscles in the pelvic region.

 

Things To Do When You Feel Intense Pain

If you suddenly start feeling a lot of pain in your hips or the pelvic region or if the pain has been there for quite some time and is not going away, you should consider going to a doctor and seeking professional help because that is your best option.

If you want some idea as to what type of treatment you can get, then read the following list:

  •     Use anti-inflammatory medication
  •     Take lidocaine injection
  •     Go for physical therapy if the pain is experienced in the iliotibial band
  •     Corticosteroid injection will help reduce inflammation if nothing else is working
  •     Physical therapy will help with discomfort in the running gait as well
  •     If you have an iliolumbar syndrome, resting will help you a lot
  •     Steroid medicines will help you reduce intense pain
  •     If you experience ilium apophysitis, immediately go to a doctor

 

Something else that will be very helpful with the iliac crest pain is exercising.

 

Exercising To Help With The Iliac Crest Pain

It has been found that if a person resorts to exercising, it can help treat and prevent the iliac crest pain. Although you should keep in mind that before you get over-excited and decide to start doing exercises, you should consult your doctor if it is safe to do so. If you are pregnant then you should definitely ask a professional before you do anything.

Some of the most common exercises that can help you are:

 

Lunges 

Lunges are a great way to stretch your upper thigh muscles and the buttocks as well. To do that you will only have to:

  •     Stand up straight on your legs
  •     Keep one of your feet in front of you and bend down till your knee makes a 90-degree angle
  •     Keep in mind that your knee should not go beyond your toes.
  •     After that, you should shift your whole weight on your heel and return to the initial position
  •     Now do the same thing with the other foot and repeat this exercise for as long as you can or as long as is recommended to you.
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Hip Flexor Exercises

Hip flexor exercises help with iliac crest pain a lot. To do this exercise:

  •     Kneel down on one of your knees while keeping your other leg in front of you but bent and the foot planted on the ground.
  •     Push your hips forward while keeping your back straight and hold that position for at least 30 seconds.
  •     Now do the same with your other knee down and repeat this exercise as required.
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Hip Extension Exercise 

Extending your hips will help with taught muscles. To do this exercise:

  •     Stand up straight and hold onto the backside of a chair or table or something which is equally sturdy. 
  •     Raise one of your legs and keep your back straight while doing it and hold the pose for a few seconds.
  •     After you do that, lower your leg and do the same exercise with the other leg and repeat this as required.
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Hip Abduction Exercise

This exercise will help you loosen the thighs and other muscles. To do it:

  •     Stand up straight and lift one of your legs to the side slowly.
  •     Hold this position for a while and then lower your leg.
  •     After that, do this with your other leg and repeat as required.
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When you are doing the above-mentioned exercises, you should over-exert yourself. I am repeating this so many times because it is important that you understand this. If you start feeling any kind of pain anywhere while you are exercising, stop immediately.

You can slowly keep increasing the number of repetitions and your strength will keep increasing as you keep doing that. Just keep in mind that you should only do as many repetitions as you can and not try to go overboard.

 

Ways You Can Prevent Iliac Crest Pain

Iliac crest pain is a complex issue and sometimes it might get difficult to prevent something like this. To treat the pain, you can follow the above-mentioned things but if the iliac crest pain is caused due to some sport that you are playing regularly, there are some measures that you can take to prevent it.

 

Wearing Nice Shoes

When you have been using a pair of shoes for a long time and it looks like its last days are near, stop using those shoes and instead buy new shoes that are nice and comfortable so as to not give yourself an unnecessary injury.

 

Try To Stay Away From Uneven Planes

If you are participating in an activity that involves running, make sure that you are not running on uneven surfaces as that might cause your ankles to twist and you can fall down hard on your hips, leading to iliac crest pain.

 

Try To Strengthen Your Muscles

If you are a sportsperson, you must understand the need to stay fit. So preventing the iliac crest pain should not be much of an issue because it basically involves strengthening your muscles. Doing that will reduce the chances of your muscles undergoing tears and you will be directly taking care of your own body.

 

Stretching And Exercise

As I mentioned before, exercising and stretching not only helps treat the iliac crest pain, it will also help in preventing it. If the muscles and ligaments around your pelvic bone are in perfect condition, it would be very tough for them to get damaged.

 

What Can Iliac Crest Pain Result Into?

If you have iliac crest pain, you might experience a lot of physical pain around the region of the hips. The pain will make it hard for you to even move.

So the iliac crest pain affects your mobility as I mentioned before. If you get this issue, you will find it very hard to participate in any physical activity like playing sports or even going out for a jog. This will seriously affect your daily routine.

As I said, if you get this issue, it would be best to consult a doctor and get professional help because, with the iliac crest pain, you cannot tell how serious it is unless it gets very serious. But if you do not feel like going to the doctor, rest for a few days and go to the doctor if the pain has not subsided.

 

To Sum Up 

If you get the iliac crest pain, you can be easily healed if it gets the proper attention and treatment. In case you experience chronic pain, go to the doctor because you might just make it worse by staying at home. Your doctor will help you understand what is happening in your body and give you the best way possible to treat it.

The iliac crest pain can be identified if you feel some sort of pain in your hips or the lower back or in the abdomens. If not treated properly, the pain can grow to various parts through the nerves and muscles that are present on the iliac crest.

If you have weak muscles, or are pregnant, or are sexually active, you might experience some pain near the pelvic region, this can be because of the iliac crest. Other things like piriformis syndrome or bone cancer can cause this pain as well.

Treating the iliac crest pain is not a big issue, you only need to rest, use ice packs or compressors and do some exercises that will help strengthen your muscles. To prevent the iliac crest pain, you can keep certain things in mind like not over-exerting yourself while exercising or wear nice shoes, etc.

All in all, you should remember that the iliac crest pain can be a small issue and easily solvable unless you decide to ignore it or play dumb and allow the pain to increase, in which case, you will be the one suffering.  

This was all I had to tell you about this topic. If you feel like I may have missed out on some points or if you have any suggestions, do mention them in the comments section. 

Till then; Stay fit, Stay healthy! 

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