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What is the sacroiliac (SI) joint? 

  • The pelvis is a ring of bone that contains three joints. One is in the front (the pubic symphysis) and the other two are in the back on either side of the sacrum (the SI joints).
  • The SI joints are extremely stable, only allowing 2-4 mm of movement. This stability is created by the shape of the bones, the weight of our body, the action of muscles, and a network of thick connective tissue. The SI joints can only be disrupted by trauma, such as car accidents.

SI Joint pain

What is SI joint pain?

  • Pain at or near one or both of the sacroiliac joints, with no symptoms radiating down the leg. It is similar to low back pain, but usually presents more locally in the area of the joint.
  • People with SI joint pain usually experience pain when walking, getting in and out of bed, and standing on one leg. During exercise, they may experience pain with running, lunges, step ups, and other asymmetrical movements.
  • People with SI joint pain also can experience pubic symphysis pain. You can read more about pubic symphysis pain here!

Who experiences SI joint pain?

What causes SI joint pain?

I heard that SI joint pain is because of misalignment of my pelvic joints. Is that true?

  • While many providers still talk about “pelvic misalignment” as the cause of SI joint pain, there is no reliable evidence that this is the case. Years of research shows that it is not possible to detect pelvic joint alignment through touching or observing a patient. 
  • The treatments that are frequently used to “correct alignment” can often feel good and helpful! However, this isn’t because the joint alignment was changed. Contracting muscles and creating movement around a painful area is often helpful for improving pain in many areas of the body.
  • Many people who are concerned about joint alignment are also worried to move normally and participate in their desired exercise. We don’t want anyone to be limited in their movement because of this fear – your pelvis is strong and stable, even if you have pain!

How can physical therapy help?

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