Have you noticed that when you stand too long or lie on one side, your hips hurt, maybe one in particular, and the pain is beginning to creep into your lower back? When you walk, does the movement in your hip(s) cause pain? The chances are that you have an issue with your SI joint.
What is the SI Joint?
The sacroiliac joint is a powerful joint, stabilized by muscles and ligaments, that connects the upper body (via the sacrum in the spine) to the pelvis (via the ilium).
How do you injure your SI joint?
Your SI joints main responsibility is to help move the weight of the upper body smoothly with the lower body. The ligaments that stabilize can get strained, the cartilage that cushions the joint can wear away, with use and age, and other conditions cause SI joint pain (arthritis, spondylitis, gout, and the natural aging of the joint).
Even hormonal changes during pregnancy cause the relaxation of ligaments throughout the body, and with the extra weight of the baby, the SI joint can become stressed and irritated. Trauma to the lower back or tailbone, a difference in leg length, an abnormal gait, being bow-legged, and knees or foot problems that lead to compensation can also be the core cause of SI joint pain.
Major Symptoms of SI joint problems:
- Lower back pain
- Numbness, tingling, or weakness in lower extremities
- Pain in the hip, pelvis, buttock or groin.
- Pain while standing
- Leg instability
- Unable to sit or sleep on a certain hip for a long period.
Several options exist for the treatment of SI joint pain:
Ice, heat, and rest are always good. Start with icing until inflammation reduces. Using heat right away may ease sore muscles but cause more swelling.
Chiropractic manipulations help with joint issues stemming from misaligned hips, leg length difference, and lower back issues. During the appointment, your chiropractor can perform a thorough and complete chiropractic, neurological, and orthopedic exam and decide the best way to approach to repair and relieve your issue.
A skilled and well-trained chiropractor can provide multiple ways to relieve joint pain.
One very effective technique is Active Release Technique (ART), a patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement based technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions resolved with ART. These conditions all have one important thing in common: they are often a result of overused muscles. (Home |ART: Active Release Technique, http://www.activerelease.com/europe/what_patients.asp (accessed September 05, 2018)
Medication like over-the-counter anti-inflammatories over several days can reduce pain and inflammation, providing pain relief temporarily, but do not address the underlying biomechanical abnormality and possible cause of your SI problem and dysfunction.
In more extreme cases, supports or braces may aid in supporting the upper body, reducing stress on the SI joint. Steroid injections are also an option to reduce the inflammation in the SI joint.
Exercises and Stretches.
Core muscles, hip extensors, abductors, and external rotators, and the muscles in the lower back affect the health of the SI joint. To prevent or minimize SI joint issues, strengthening these muscles surrounding the joint can prevent and help minimize issues that have occurred in the joint area.
- Hip Extensions
Along with strengthening the surrounding muscles, stretching is equally essential to keep the joint flexible.
- Knee-to-Chest Stretch
- Knee Rotation
- Triangle Pose
- Child’s Pose Stretch
- Bird Dog
Movements to avoid
With all injuries, certain movements can aggravate the injury, causing more harm or delaying the healing process.
For SI joints, lifting heavy weights, especially with the lower back muscles, (lift with the knees!), full sit-ups and crunches, any exercise that involves twisting and turning, cycling for long periods of time (those little seats can put excessive pressure on the joint), and contact sports are all activities that cause more SI joint problems..
Dr. Maggio, at Downtown Chiropractic, is a certified chiropractic physician, and full body certified in ART techniques. If you suffer from lower back, hip, or SI joint pain, or you would like more information regarding other conditions treated, call for an appointment @ (505) 242-8400 and start on the road to relief.
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