You’ve likely had patients come to you with sacroiliac joint dysfunction, and you may find yourself researching not only the condition itself in an effort to learn more about it, but also the best treatments available.
After all, the more informed you are, the better the decisions you’re likely to make when it comes to your patients’ health.
The sacroiliac joint
The sacroiliac joint lies between the lower spine (the lumbar area) and the tailbone, connecting the sacrum to the pelvis. Unlike other joints such as your elbows and your knees, your sacroiliac joint doesn’t move much. In fact, it is quite stable largely due to the ligaments around it. This joint acts as a shock absorber that takes the pressure from the upper body and dispenses it to the lower body.1
When this joint doesn’t do its job properly, a patient may present with sacroiliac joint dysfunction. This could result from the joint moving around too much, causing pain in the lower back, hips, and groin. Conversely, the dysfunction could be the result of the joint failing to move enough, creating some level of discomfort on just one side of your lower back, buttocks, or legs.
How you can help
Chiropractic can often alleviate sacroiliac joint dysfunction by either adjusting the sacroiliac joint via high-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulation or by mobilizing it with low-velocity, high-amplitude thrusts.2 How effective is chiropractic for this particular condition?
One study published in the European Spine Journal set out to answer that question. In this case, researchers took 51 participants who were experiencing leg pain due to their sacroiliac joint, and each one was blindly assigned to one of three different treatment methods: physiotherapy, manual therapy, or corticosteroid injections. Data was taken at six and 12 weeks into treatment to determine what effect, if any, each remedy had on the pain that each person reported.3
The results showed that manual therapy was the clear winner when it came to alleviating sacroiliac joint-related leg pain. Specifically, 72 percent of the participants who received this therapy (13 out of 18) were classified as “successfully treated.” This was greater than the 50 percent success rate with the injections (nine out of 18) and the 20 percent of those treated with physiotherapy (three out of 15) who were able to report the same.
Therefore, if you currently have patients with pain in their lower back, hips, groin, buttocks, or legs due to sacroiliac joint dysfunction, manual treatment is likely to offer them some relief.
1 Yeomans S. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SI joint pain). Spine-health. http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/sacroiliac-joint-dysfunction/sacroiliac-joint-dysfunction-si-joint-pain. Published April 20, 2000. Updated November 2, 2010. Accessed May 2015.
2 Yeomans S. Chiropractic procedures for the sacroiliac joint. Spine-health. http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/sacroiliac-joint-dysfunction/chiropractic-procedures-sacroiliac-joint. Published May 7, 2000. Updated May 29, 2013. Accessed May 2015.
3 Visser LH, Woudenberg NP, deBont J, et al. Treatment of the sacroiliac joint in patients with leg pain: a randomized-controlled trial. Euro Spine J. 2013;22(10):2310-7.