The iliolumbar ligaments are among the most important connective tissues in the body. These ligaments keep the lower spine together by anchoring it to stronger bones that provide ample support. Any form of trauma, injury or defect to these ligaments not only reduces their powerful strength, but can also begin a progressive degeneration that will cause increasing pain and reduced mobility. Traditional surgical approaches can be used to ease the effects of iliolumbar injuries, but many in the medical community believe that innovative regenerative medicine provides the best opportunity for relief from iliolumbar ligament trauma. The Institute of Regenerative and Molecular Orthopaedics has been at the forefront of research and development of stem cell and platelet rich plasma therapies, which are minimally invasive and exceptionally effective treatments.
What are Iliolumbar Ligaments and What Do They Do?
The iliolumbar ligaments are critical support structures within the lower spine. One end of the ligament is attached to the L4 and L5 vertabrae, and the other end is connected to the iliac bone at the back of the pelvis. As with all other ligaments, the iliolumbar is comprised of fibrous tissue that holds bones in place and connects them to other bones, both providing support and permitting free movement. The sacroiliac joint, which is supported by the iliolumbar ligament, stabilizes the base of the spine and allows the flexibility necessary to permit normal movement including running, walking, standing and making other adjustments to body position.
Symptoms of Injuries to the Iliolumbar Ligament
The most common symptom of a sprain or other injury of the iliolumbar ligament is severe pain. People with this kind of injury generally describe stabbing pains that come on quite suddenly and stay severe for a period before easing. This pain worsens during and after physical activities and from being in certain positions, particularly sitting, for extended periods. The area around the ligaments may be tender, and those suffering from such an injury are likely to feel generally weak. Most seriously, however, is the increased likelihood of severe spinal injuries caused by the degeneration of the ligaments. These injuries include nerve root compression and herniated discs, among others.
Treatment of Injuries
The severity of the injury is often key to developing a course of treatment for iliolumbar ligament injuries. Because of the extreme sensitivity of the spine, surgical procedures are usually reserved as a last resort. Convention methods of treatment include physical therapy, rest, icing and over-the-counter pain relief medications. When these approaches prove ineffective, however, surgical procedures become more necessary.
Fortunately, surgery is not the only option, however. Innovations in the field of stem cell therapy and regenerative treatments with platelet rich plasma are giving patients greater options. Since these therapies are designed to regenerate the ligament rather than just addressing the pain, they are effective not just in healing the current injury but also in preventing further degeneration.