Recently, a new patient who had been experiencing chronic pain in her left buttock area, asked me this question on her initial visit: “What is the sacroiliac joint and is it causing my pain?” She had been told by one of her coworkers her sacroiliac joint (SI joint) might be a problem and to see a chiropractor. After examining her we found her SI joint was the source of her pain and I told her to thank her coworker for correctly diagnosing the problem. Fortunately, I was able to provide treatment to correct my patients problem and within a short time she was pain free.
The purpose of this article is to explain what the sacroiliac joint is, why it can cause pain and how to correct problems that arise.
Let’s begin with some simple anatomy. We all know that there is an area of our body called the pelvis. The pelvis isn’t just one big solid bone but is actually made up of three separate bones. The larger bones on each side are called the iliac bones. The central bone is called the sacrum. Where the iliac bones and the sacrum meet is called the sacroiliac joint. It can also be considered a pelvic joint.
These pelvic joints glide back and forth when we walk. They also qlide slightly when we twist and turn. Their purpose is to allow our lower body to move somewhat but not too much.
At times the sacroiliac joints can become a problem if they get misaligned or move improperly. This could happen from repetitive overuse such as swinging a golf club at a driving range or shoveling a thought of mulch when gardening. It could also happen with a sudden traumatic accident such as fall or an auto collision.
When we have pain from our SI joint it is usually around the hip pocket area, and may also cause discomfort in the lower ribs, buttock, hip and groin.
The solution is to correct the mechanical misalignment and improper movement of the sacroiliac joint. As a chiropractor I examine the patient to determine if the pelvis is level or if it is higher or lower on one side and if the pelvis is twisted. I also check to see if there is tenderness over the SI joint. I also feel for misalignment and improper motion of the joint.
If I find a problem does exist with this joint then it can be corrected by chiropractic adjustments which realign and restore proper movement to the sacroiliac joint.
Chiropractors have been able to provide a drug-free, nonsurgical, safe and effective treatment to help patients with sacroiliac joints for more than 100 years.