What is SI pain?
One of the most common low back complaints I see doesn’t really end up being the lumbar spine. It is usually the SI joint. The term is very common with regards to low back pain but when I say it to patients most have never heard of it. And rightfully so! As your chiropractor in the Woodbridge, Dale City VA area I want to change that with some basic information on the SI joint.
Chiropractic is all about expression of optimal health and living the best possible life for you. The focus, especially with doctors of chiropractic at The Joint, is about improving the overall quality of your daily life through regular spinal adjustments. An adjustment helps restore spinal movement, which allows the nervous system to function at its highest possible level. Because the nervous system controls everything we do (including breathing, blinking and swallowing), a system operating optimally is extremely valuable. One of the additional perks — the one that often brings people in — is that pain and joint dysfunction often go away. That’s like magic! Many times people are freed to return to activities they love but have struggled participating in, whether it’s skateboarding, surfing, or lifting a little one up over their head. One of the most common issues that chiropractors see is SI joint dysfunction. It’s common enough that many people know what the SI joint is, but if you don’t, don’t worry — just keep reading. I’ll go over a bit of the science and how chiropractic can play a role in resolving SI joint issues.
SI stands for sacroiliac. You have two SI joints. The joints are on either side of the sacrum and each ilium (you know this as your hip bone). They are at the bottom of the spine and connect the sacrum and ilium on each side. The main motion of the joint is a shearing motion (a sliding motion back and forth between two parallel surfaces, joint facets in this case).
SI joint dysfunction means the SI joint is not moving the way it’s intended. Perhaps this means its range of motion is limited — either the sacrum or the ilium is literally mal-positioned and stuck — or there is too much motion. Each joint works to transfer weight from the upper body to the lower body; they are designed to allow minimal movement and they have strong ligaments and tendons that support them. The dysfunction can occur as a result of a variety of things. We live in a society in which the average person sits far too much and carries too much weight. This lack of movement doesn’t encourage proper SI joint health and function. Dysfunction can also be a result of stress from overcompensation after prior spinal surgeries. Too much SI joint movement commonly occurs in pregnant women due to ligament-stretching and laxity.
Symptoms and Treatment
As with most conditions, symptoms vary from person to person. It’s common for SI joint dysfunction to present with low back pain or pain in the buttocks. Pain can radiate down the leg or even into the front of the thigh, but generally not past the knee. SI joint pain can mimic many other causes of low back pain. Chiropractors are experts at determining the source of spine pain in patients — and caring for them, too!
Through an adjustment, chiropractors help restore motion in the SI joint and/or associated joints contributing to the problem. I’ve found that SI joint dysfunction typically responds well to chiropractic care and that pain relief can occur quickly after an adjustment. The exact treatment duration and intensity will depend on the person, their lifestyle and the degree of the subluxation.
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Woodbridge VA 22192
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