Back in Balance Family Chiropractic

Chiropractic and the Sacroiliac Joint

By: Adam Renelt, DC

Updated 3/1/2024

One of the most common complaints that brings patients to our Sioux Falls chiropractic office is lower back pain.  Lower back pain can have a large variety of causes.  One common cause is a subluxation, or misalignment, of the sacroiliac joint.  The sacroiliac joint (SI joint) is found in the pelvis where the sacrum and ilium joints meet on either side. This joint is present on the right and the left and is located roughly where most people can feel a large bump on either side of their lower back.  Chiropractic care will often include an evaluation of the sacroiliac joint.

The sacroiliac joint is located on either side of the pelvis.
The location of the sacroiliac joint.

How Can the Sacroiliac Joint be Injured?

In the 1800s it was believed that the sacroiliac joint was a fixed joint that was unable to move.  In the 1900s it was proved that the joint is movable.  It moves a small amount during walking, bending and twisting. This movement means that the joint can be injured and cause dysfunction of the spine. This dysfunction may cause symptoms, such as lower back pain, hip pain, knee pain or other symptoms.  The SI joint can be injured by either a large trauma or repeated small events.  Car accidents and slips on ice are common causes of SI joint dysfunction.  Sports injuries, sitting on a large wallet, poor footwear, and poor posture are some other factors that may cause SI joints to subluxate.  Most of the time only one side will misalign but there are rare cases where both sides can be subluxated at the same time.  

What are the Symptoms?

Lower back pain is the most common symptom of a sacroiliac subluxation. The pain can be on either side or across the whole lower back.  This joint may also cause knee, groin or hip pain by changing the biomechanics of the femur (thigh bone).  The pain may be present when walking, sitting, bending or moving from a sit to a stand.  Having a toe that angles in or out may also be a sign of a SI joint problem.  In some cases, patients may report tingling, numbness or pain radiating down a leg that with a sacroiliac misalignment.  There are also nerves that go to the digestive regions and bladder that may be affected by the sacroiliac joint.   If these nerves are affected it may cause diarrhea, constipation or other changes in bodily functions. 

Can Chiropractic Help the Sacroiliac Joint?

Chiropractic adjustments are often able to improve the function of the SI joints.  At your appointment, a chiropractor will evaluate the lower back and the pelvis to determine where they think the problem area is.   Palpating the back to check range of motion and for painful areas is usually the first step.  If your chiropractor determines that the SI joint is problematic, they will then try to determine which direction it has misaligned.  X-rays analysis, orthopedic exams and visualization are different ways your chiropractor may analyze your pelvis.  Once the direction of misalignment has been determined a chiropractic adjustment is usually performed.  Massage, at-home exercises, at-home stretches, and lifestyle modifications may also be recommended to you recover from the injury and to maintain improvement.  If you live in the Sioux Falls area and think that you may have a problem with your SI joint, please contact our office for a consultation.  Our chiropractors will perform a chiropractic evaluation, give you their recommendations and, if needed, perform an adjustment.

Adam Renelt, DC is the founder of Back in Balance Chiropractic. Dr. Adam grew up on a farm in South Dakota and received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Dakota in 2004. In 2007 he graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic with his Doctorate of Chiropractic degree and started his career in private practice. He lives in Sioux Falls with his wife and son.  In his free time he enjoys reading and being outdoors, mountain biking and hiking.

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