What is the sacroiliac joint?
The sacroiliac joint is the part of your lower back made up of the sacrum (the bony structure above
your tailbone and below your lower vertebrae) and the top part (iliac) of your pelvis. It is the
part of the low back just behind your waist. You have right and left sacroiliac joints. Ligaments
hold these bones in place.
How does sacroiliac joint pain occur?
Some possible causes of sacroiliac pain include:
* activities that involve twisting, bending, or heavy lifting (for example, swinging a golf club or
* a fall or a direct trauma to the area
* imbalance of the muscles around your hip or pelvis from one leg being shorter or longer than the
* poor posture
* ligaments in the sacroiliac joint that are too loose
* sitting on hard surfaces like a bench or the floor
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms can include:
* pain in the sacroiliac area of the low back
* trouble bending or twisting your low back
* pain after sitting for a long time
* stiffness in the low back, hip, or leg
* a feeling of being "out of alignment"
How is it diagnosed?
We will ask about your health history and examine your back, pelvis, hips, and legs. In rare cases,
you may need an X-ray, CT scan or an MRI. These tests are done to check for other causes of
How is it treated?
Treatment frequently involved mobilization or manipulation to restore the joint's normal
movement. We may use ice, heat or other therapeutic modalities to help with the pain and ease
the adjustments. Sometimes, we recommend an insert for your shoe if your legs are different
lengths. A sacroiliac belt may be prescribed which helps support the joint. Home care
and ergonimic instructions will be given as well to prevent a reoccurrance.
When can I return to my normal
Everyone recovers from injuries at different rates. Returning to your activities will be determined
by how soon your sacroiliac joint recovers, not by how many days or weeks it has been since your
injury has occurred. In general, the longer you have symptoms before you start treatment, the
longer it will take to get better. The goal of treatment is to return you to your normal activities
as soon as is safely possible. If you return too soon you may worsen your injury.
It is important that you have fully recovered from your sacroiliac pain before you return to any
strenuous activity. You must be able to have the same range of motion that you had before the
injury. You must be able to twist, bend, run and jump without pain.
How is sacroiliac pain prevented?
Be sure that you have warmed up and done proper stretching exercises before participating in sports
or other activities. Try not to twist when you are lifting heavy objects. Avoid deeply squatting to
lift and sitting on hard surfaces for long periods of time.
What exercises can I do to help with a sacroiliac joint
The following exercises will be helpful to people with sacroiliac joint problems:
These exercises are designed to gently move your sacroiliac joint. Do not do these exercises if
they cause pain or discomfort. If your pain continues see your chiropractor as soon as
Hamstring stretch on wall: Lie on your back with your buttocks close to a doorway,
and extend your legs straight out in front of you along the floor. Raise one leg and rest it
against the wall next to the door frame. Your other leg should extend through the doorway. You
should feel a stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3
times and then switch legs and do the exercise again.
Quadriceps stretch: Stand an arm's length away from the wall with your injured leg
farthest from the wall. Facing straight ahead, brace yourself by keeping one hand against the wall.
With your other hand, grasp the ankle of your injured leg and pull your heel toward your buttocks.
Don't arch or twist your back. Keep your knees together. Hold this stretch for 15 to 30
Hip adductor stretch: Lie on your back, bend your knees, and put your feet flat
on the floor. Gently spread your knees apart, stretching the muscles on the inside of your thigh.
Hold this for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
Isometric hip adduction: Sit with your knees bent 90° with a pillow placed between your knees and
your feet flat on the floor. Squeeze the pillow for 5 seconds and then relax. Do 3 sets of 10.
Gluteal Sets: Lie on your stomach with your legs straight out behind you. Squeeze
your buttock muscles together and hold for 5 seconds. Release. Do 3 sets of 10.
Lower trunk rotation: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on
the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and push your lower back into the floor. Keeping your
shoulders down flat, gently rotate your legs to one side, then to the other side as far as you can.
Repeat 10 to 20 times.
Single knee to chest stretch: Lie on your back with your legs straight out in
front of you. Bring one knee up to your chest and grasp the back of your thigh. Pull your knee
toward your chest, stretching your buttock muscle. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and
return to the starting position. Repeat 3 times on each side.
Double knee to chest: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on
the floor. Tighten your abdominal muscles and push your lower back into the floor. Pull both knees
up to your chest. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 to 20 times.
Contact us in our Rochester chiropractic office to determine the
cause and best treatment for your sacroiliac joint problem.