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SI Joint dysfunction


I am wondering if the chiropracter I am seeing is up to date on treatment for SI dysfunction. I have been in pain for the past 2 months. I start out fairly normal in the morning, but within in a few hours the pain starts progressing to severe. Burning,pain, and sometimes numbness in my lower back, butttocks, hips, and down the front of my thighs. Sometimes there are shooting pains from my hip down my legs. Went through the usual routine – doctor, pain pills, Naproxen, oral steroids, physical therapy for 1 1/2 months, MRI when the PT failed, and now I am scheuled for cortisone injections next week. The MRI showed a bulging disk, bilateral ligamentum, and facet hypertrophy at L5 – S1. And the same resluts at L3-4. Ligamentum flavum, facet joint hypertrophy, and disc bulging at L4-5. The analysis states that there is no definite nerve root impingement to account for the patient’s right sided radiculopathy.
I decided to try chriopratic treatments while waiting for the pain clinic to schedule the injections. He diagnosed me as having sacroliliac joint dysfunction. I have had 7 visits now. I have not seen any improvement and have started having symptoms in my left hip and leg now and occasionally down the back of my legs now. While doing some research online, I found 3 different sites that stated that the adjustment my doc has been using – side-lying while the doc pulls back on the shoulder and shoves forward and down on the top of the pelvis- will not only NOT help , but will make the joint even more unstable by stretching the long posterior SI ligaments. One of the sites was a site for chiropracters ( Please tell me if this is true – have I caused myself more pain and agony? If this is not the right treatment, what treatment do you use or recommend for SI joint problems?


  1. No Jim, I don’t have any kind of internal problems like that. What types of treatment are you recieving? I’ve been hurt from work since Dec 2004 and my MRI and X ray were negative. I’ve been going to pt three times week. They’re also a chiro office too. So I get “adjusted” almost each time. They adjust me just how Susan had described. At times I feel okay afterwards but lately I’ve been feeling like crap. I don’t know what else to do. The comp doc seems like she’s guessing about the treatment that they’re giving me. I’ve asked for pain meds becuase the pain is unbareable at times and here they’re giving me a home stimulater. I already recive that in pt three times a week. I’m getting frustuated because it seems like I’m one of those car dummies. Experamenting until they can get it right. I keep searching the net looking for answers but haven’t really found anything……what about you?

    • I have had severe lower left hip pain for 2 years. Probably brought on from years of step aerobics and scoliosis. Anyway, after being on oxycontin for almost a year, an orthopaedic surgeon finally concurred with me that I had S/I joint dysfunction (I actally diagnosed myself based on where the pain was, and he was the only doctor out of 4 who took me seriously). I recently had a cortisone shot under live xray (fluorscopy) and I am almost pain free. I am off all drugs now, and cannot believe how wonderful it feels to be “normal” again. Does anyone know how many cortisone shots one can get before they stop helping? I do not know what the long-term therapy will be, but I do know that without major pain control meds, I could not function — and I don’t want to go there again.

      • Hi Dawn, I happen to come back to this site. I’ve had two steriod shots in my si over the summer. They were under a x ray too like what your describing. The first shot hurt like hell but I got the most relief from it. The second one did not really do anything and it didn’t hurt as much. With the first shot I finaly felt ALVIE. I done everything that I wasn’t able to do prior to the shots. I only recieved two and then the doctor wanted to send me back to work???? I’m on light duty and there is NO WAY IN HELL I will be able to do my regular job. It’s very very physical. I had to switch doctors and he’s sending me to a pain clininc. I’m hoping that this helps me. I’m only 27 and I shouldn’t be feeling like this. The chiro helps me out alot. I’ve read that some don’t get relief and that the chiro’s made them worse but for me it helps ALOT. I’m not sure what long term treatment is being that I’m still going through it myself. My appt w/ the pain clinic is Jan 11 so I’ll let you know what he say or do. I’ll check back here next week to see if post again. Intill later,

  2. Does anyone with SI also have any intestional problems?? I do and the Dr’s i an seeing and what i have been reading say if you have Colitis or Chrons you will either have or will be having SI problems.

  3. It’s been almost 2 years since you posted this comment about SI Joint Dysfunction, but I was recently diagnosed with it and have been seeing a physical therapist who has been teaching me exercises to do at home that will strengthen the pelvis muscles and help stabilize my joints. since I’ve been going to her, I rarely have a bad pain day. She did teach me one thing to do, which has basically become my “first aid” and that is, when you first start feeling the pain.. either sit down or lay down on your back and pull our knees up to your chest. In my case, it’s my right side that hurts me, so what I do is (with my knees bent) put my right hand below my right knee and my left hand above my left knee. At the same time, I push my right knee against my hand away from my body and pull my left knee into my hand towards my body, but you should be resisting the push & pull with your hands, so technically your legs aren’t moving. You should hold this for six seconds and do it three seperate times. If it starts hurting worse immediately, do the exact opposite of what you just did because you’ve pushed the joint too far. If you get done with the 3 push/pull exercises and its still hurting, do it again. and it works best if you do it when you first start feeling it, so even if you are in your car, pull over and do it as quick as possible. and if your pain is more in the left side than the right side (like mine) then do the opposite directions of what i listed above. My PT also suggested Yoga or Pilates classes which strengthen your pelvic and hip muscles a lot. Hope that helps!

  4. First, my new chiro (more on that later) noted, without prompting or referencing your info, that the adjustment you describe is destructive. He gave me a fairly detailed description as to why and it made a lot of sense. My previous chiro did that adjustment on me bi-monthly to monthly for a year. There was some immediate relief but never any long-term benefit and now that I can look back on it, my condition actually did worsen. I am limited to walking no more than about 20 minutes before the pain is mind numbing.This won’t sound right but I’m so happy to know there are other people dealing with this. I have the same issue of things getting progressively worse throughout the day. The odd thing for me though is that there are times when I will move to get out of a chair, out of bed, pick something up, etc. and the pain will almost instantly disappear. There’s no rhyme or reason to it – it seems like completely random motions. Any type of extended running, walking, stair climbing, cycling and so forth can make it nearly unbearable. I stumbled on my way up the stairs at work after a longer-than-expected walk around our campus to pickup some things. Do you have the same type of aggravations?I will say that I am finally back at a chiro who helped me during my rugby days. I had tried several others and finally got to him. When I started, I couldn’t complete but about 1/3 of a lap before practice. Within 3 months I was running 2 miles at a time, 3 nights a week plus practices. He finally joined my new insurance group so I went back to him on Friday (8/8/2003).After about 30 minutes he gave me the SIJ diagnosis. He described the muscles, nerve functions within and around muscles and joints and all sorts of other great information. I really trust Dr. Penniston and appreciate his ability to look at the whole system of the body and describe physiology to the lay person. I suggest you stop seeing the chiro who’s doing the twisting adjustment during your visits. My chiro and my personal experience say it’s not a good thing. Also, you might want to try sleeping on your back as that minimizes excess strain on the joint.Good luck!

  5. : I too have been diagnosed with the same condition(s) you have and there aparently is no right answer. I have been seeing a manual physical therapist who seems to have helped my condition (although, sometimes my SIJ slips out of place and he has to adjust it). I refused the cortisone injections from my doctor and too have tried various NSAIDs. The one that seems to work the best is Vioxx 25mg daily. Helps the deep, achy pain and doesn’t seem to upset my stomach as much.