11/02/2023 by Dr. Michaela Peterson
Finding Comfort with SI Joint Pain Treatment
SI joint pain is no fun. The sharp, sometimes debilitating pain in your lower back and hips often comes with an emotional weight that can affect your day-to-day activities. The discomfort of Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain can make it nearly impossible to perform the simplest tasks. There’s no question: SI Joint pain makes life harder.
SI joint pain limits your mobility, disrupts your work (and play!), and takes you away from otherwise peaceful sleep. Fortunately, chiropractic care has helped many of our patients with SI joint pain live freely and fully again.
What causes SI joint pain?
Your SI joints are between the iliac bones and the sacrum, connecting your spine to your hips. These two joints give you support and stability. They also play a major role in walking and lifting.
When an SI joint is misaligned, the symptoms may affect your entire lower body.
Most often, you’ll feel SI joint pain in your lower back and buttocks.
Sometimes it moves to your hips and down your thighs. You can even feel it in your groin, or your feet! This is why SI joint pain is so often mistaken for sciatica.
You could also feel pain on only one side of your lower back, or on both sides.
Pain with prolonged standing and sitting is common.
Life events can cause SI joint pain.
Even something as simple as an irregular walking pattern can prompt issues with your SI joint.
We’ve even seen SI joint pain in children.
Dr. Michaela has seen two children come in with a stuck SI joint.
One child was 18 months old and had come home from daycare with a noticeable limp in his left leg. His parents called the daycare right away to see if he had fallen during his day – he had not.
For several days he walked with a limp. There was no evidence of a fall and he is a very healthy child. His parents called their acupuncturist to see if she had any advice, and she referred them to us.
Dr. Michalea watched him limp and immediately zoned in on his SI joints. Upon further inspection, she noticed that his left SI joint was rocked back and very stuck. He was hardly getting any motion in the joint at all (no wonder the limp).
She adjusted the child’s SI joint, set him back on the floor with toys, and began to watch him walk again. Immediately his gait had changed and he was no longer limping with the left leg.
Another child was an 8 year old girl that reported low back and right hip pain to her mother. She enjoys playing basketball during recess. She had fallen during one of her games and that is when her low back and hip began to bother her.
She was seen by her pediatrician, who was unable to determine the cause of her pain. They referred her for an MRI to take a deeper look. Our little patient arrived at her MRI appointment and did her best to undergo the imaging, but the machine frightened her to the point she had to stop. Her mother decided to make an appointment with us to see if we could give a different perspective.
We did a few orthopedic tests to test the integrity of the child’s SI joints. Sure enough, hers was stuck on the right side. We performed an adjustment, then asked her to start walking around. She looked at her mother and happily exclaimed “It's gone!” It hasn’t bothered her since.
How do chiropractors diagnose SI joint dysfunction?
A thorough chiropractic examination can pinpoint if your SI joint is the source of your pain through various assessments of movement and palpation.
Sometimes, we’ll refer you for imaging tests to make sure your pain isn’t from other causes. The SI joints can degenerate and become arthritic just like the joints of the spine. Those especially at risk for developing SI joint arthritis include those with an existing rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis diagnosis.
How do chiropractors treat SI joint dysfunction?
Depending on your specific condition and health history, we may choose one (or more) of the following treatments as part of your plan:
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Soft tissue manipulations
- Massage therapy
- Exercises/stretches to help mobilize the SI joints
How long does it take for chiropractic to work for SI joint dysfunction?
Treatment lengths can vary depending on your specific condition and health history. Most patients see improvement within a few visits.
What is the best self-care for SI joint dysfunction?
Simple lifestyle adjustments can often work wonders. Adding ergonomic furniture and using proper lifting techniques will help support your musculoskeletal health overall, and help prevent recurrence of your pain.
Coping strategies, like breathing techniques and gentle exercise, can ease your tension and your pain.
Worried you may have SI joint dysfunction?
If you are experiencing symptoms that point towards SI joint dysfunction, come see our chiropractors here in Aptos. We’re here to get you out of pain. You can easily schedule online.
SI joint pain doesn’t have to keep you away from the activities you love.
We’ve had a lot of success helping our patients manage SI joint pain. We’ll determine the best treatment plan for you, and get you out of pain and back into life as soon as possible.