The sacroiliac (SI) joints attach the tailbone (sacrum) to each of the large pelvic bones (illium). It connects the entire pelvis to the spine, and is the connecting joint between the upper and lower half of the skeletal structure. The sacroiliac joint is not designed for excessive movement, but rather to serve as a shock absorber for the spine as it moves through various degrees of rotation. Despite the fact that the SI joints do not have much freedom of movement, they can still be either overly stretched or compressed over time. Dr. Nathen Horst can use chiropractic adjustments to help the SI joints work properly.
How Common Are SI Joint Problems?
Overall, about 85 percent of people will experience lower back pain at some point in their life. Approximately 30 percent of lower back problems are attributed to the SI joints. However, it can be difficult to diagnose due to the fact that both low back and hip pain can have many different causes, ranging from age, to poor posture, to injury. Women are also more prone than men to have SI issues.
What Are the Causes and Symptoms of SI Joint Problems?
The ligaments around the SI joints may become strained or torn due to an injury from a hard fall on the buttocks or a blow to the side of the pelvis. In other cases, there may be a congenital deformity to the sacrum vertebrae of the spine in which the vertebrae do not properly fuse during fetal development. Finally, women are at higher risk of problems with the SI joints due to pregnancy, during which hormones cause the connective tissue around the pelvis to loosen up in preparation for childbirth. Over time, with successive pregnancies, the connective tissue surrounding the SI joint may become too loose, causing SI joint pain.
The most common symptoms of SI joint issues include pain in the lower back, buttocks, pelvis, or thighs, as well as difficulty sitting for extended periods of time due to pain. Dr. Horst will run a series of mobility tests, as well as take some X-rays and CAT scans to determine if the pain is due to problems with the SI joint.
What Are the Chiropractic Treatments for SI Joint Problems?
Dr. Horst will manipulate the SI joint using either his hands or a special adjusting tool that allows him to manipulate the spine with more force but less thrust than with the hands. The patient will lay on his or her side, with the top knee bent to the chest in order to stretch out the lower back and pelvis. This will often produce the cracking noise most people associate with a chiropractic adjustment. Many patients may feel relief immediately after the adjustment.
Dr. Horst may use some other techniques to help the SI joints keep in their correct location. These techniques may include muscle stretches of the hamstring, lower back, and adductor (inner thigh) muscles, as well as use of a support belt around the hips to hold the iliac bones of the pelvis closer together.
Patients may suffer for years without understanding the cause for their SI joint pain. Chiropractic offers a pain-free, easy way to alleviate their pain. Contact Horst Chiropractic today to schedule a consultation.