SI Joint Pain

The SI joint is the joint attaching the hip bones to the sacrum at the bottom of the spine. It’s primary function is shock absorption between the upper body and lower body when walking or lifting. It is also responsible for limiting motion when we bend.


What causes SI Joint Pain?


Sacroiliac joint pain is responsible for 15-30% of lower back and leg pain. It is not sciatica, but the similarities between the two have caused many doctors to hesitate when diagnosing patient pain. Where sciatica is the result of disc herniation, or bulging discs in the spine, SI joint pain is the result of stiffness, misalignment, or loose ligaments surrounding the joint. Patients may feel pain radiating from their low back into their glutes and thigh. If the pain goes past the knee, it is most likely a bulging disc resulting in sciatica.


One cause of SI joint pain that patients do not often consider is the presence of an anatomically short leg! While this is something harder to fix (doctors do not typically recommend leg lengthening procedures), our chiropractic clinic carries heel lifts and orthotics to help ease the weight that is applied to your SI joints as the result of one leg being shorter than the other.


Another cause of SI joint pain is an uneven gait, typically seen after knee or foot surgery. This issue spans all ages, but is typically seen in patients 50 years and older. This is usually the result of poor physical therapy techniques after surgery. There is a solution! The physical therapists at Absaroka Pain and Rehab specialize in post surgery therapy exercises to get our patients’ out of pain and walking taller, and more stable than before they went under the knife.


Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is also seen in pregnant women. During pregnancy, women produce a hormone called Relaxin, which lengthens ligaments, and makes stretching easier. As a result of lengthening ligaments, the SI joint can become easily misaligned and rather painful. Chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy exercises are extremely beneficial for women during pregnancy. Lighter adjustments are always used in these cases, but even a light adjustment can realign the sacroiliac joint and decrease inflammation.


How can chiropractors diagnose SI Joint pain?


There are a couple of factors that help a chiropractor diagnose SI Joint pain; one is if the patient experiences pain with weight bearing activity, such as walking, but the pain is relieved by sitting or lying down. Another indicator is a stretch test by the chiropractor, determining the state of the ligaments surrounding the SI joint. If there is pain during this stretch, the diagnosis is automatically, and without a doubt, SI joint pain.




It is important to note that frequent misalignment of the SI joint could be a result of inflammation, called sacroiliitis, and should be diagnosed and treated by a medical doctor; however, chiropractic therapy can be used to decrease the frequency of the inflammation of this joint. Seeking chiropractic adjustments and regular physical therapy will help to realign the joint and simultaneously strengthen the ligaments surrounding this area. It is important to combine both chiropractic therapy and physical therapy in order to gain the most benefit and get out of pain quickly.

A chiropractor may also recommend certain supplements to help ease joint discomfort. These are mostly related to decreasing inflammation. Any CBD products will help with this issue, and are typically used to relax the muscles and ease discomfort for a short period of time. It is easier to stretch these muscles if they are relaxed. Another supplement that is beneficial for SI joint pain is glucosamine, which has been shown to ease osteoarthritis pain as well. SI joint pain and osteoarthritis are typically connected in older patients.



If you are experiencing any of the symptoms talked about in this article, do not hesitate to call and make an appointment for an adjustment or a physical therapy evaluation. We want to help you get out of pain.


Request an appointment here: or call Absaroka Pain and Rehab at 406-587-8446 for an appointment in our Bozeman office.