Do you have problems with your sacroiliac joint? Do you know where it is? Many patients enter our office complaining of low back and “hip” pain, but their issue is really with the SI joint.
Some of the telltale signs of this problem is pain when you move in extension (leaning back versus bending forward) and pain when trying to tie your shoes. The patients that experience this type of problem are often runners or women that have had children.
The pain often flares up during long walks, running, or exercises that involve squats or lunges. The sacroiliac or “SI” joints are on either side of your pelvis and should have an even gliding movement during these activities, but when one side locks up, it will start to swing rather than glide.
This swinging movement often leads to pain in the SI joint along with hip, knee and occasional ankle pain. Often patients will refer to this area as their hip, but will point to their sacroiliac joints when describing the pain.
So what is Sacroiliac Joint Treatment?
As a chiropractor, I will perform chiropractic adjustments to the area that’s affected. It’s usually a combination of the pelvis (ilium) and the sacrum (the middle triangular shaped bone) that have gone out of place. During examination, I will feel along the back and pelvis area as well as perform tests to see which areas are misaligned.
Once I’ve determined which side is causing the problem (it doesn’t always match with the area that is experiencing pain), the adjustment will typically lead to immediate relief, even if only temporary. It may take several adjustments for the SI joint to begin to stay in the right place.
In order for the pelvis to hold this position, we will also do some stretches in office and recommend additional stretches at home. You may also need to modify or stop some of the offending activities, even if just temporarily.
One patient had regular SI joint pain about every 3 months. Looking at her activities, I deduced that her manual transmission may be contributing to the problem. Once she switched to an automatic transmission that kept her from working the clutch over and over again, she hasn’t had a re-occurrence.
The recommended stretches involved the hip rotator muscles. These muscles are regularly overlooked as a part of a stretching routine. Runners are usually pretty good about stretching their quads and hamstrings, but don’t consider their hip rotators.
Patients who sit all day at the computer tend to have tight hamstrings and hip rotators anyway, so if the hip rotators are never stretched, they just keep getting tighter and tighter until it leads to sacroiliac joint misalignment.
The good news is that this problem is helped fairly easily. Patients with this problem rarely require surgery or other invasive treatments. You can learn more about the stretches by visiting Spine-Health.