The S-I joint is one of the most misunderstood areas of the human body. It has been the source of much controversy in the medical community for many years. Much of the debate relies on the fact that there are few reliable evaluation methods for the S-I joint.
Contrary to disc injuries, which can be evaluated using many types of diagnostic tools, examining the S-I joints has proved to be quite unreliable. Clinicians need to rely mostly on their experience rather than simple methods used to examine the low back. Most medical professionals do not acknowledge it as a source of pain and dysfunction, so patients leave a medical office with an incomplete evaluation and oftentimes, an inaccurate diagnosis.
The S-I (Sacro-Iliac) joint is comprised of two bones; the sacrum and the ilium. You have two S-I joints (left and right). They are located basically where the spine meets the pelvis. Look for the two dimples in your low back. These two joints allow for very little movement overall as compared to other more prominent joints such as your hip or shoulder. The pelvic girdle is generally described as the two S-I joints, the pubic symphysis (pubic bone in front), the two hip joints, and the bottom two vertebrae (L4, L5).
What do you feel?
Other symptoms include:
How does this happen?
A condition known as "hypermobility" may also predispose an individual to S-I joint dysfunction. "Hypermobility" is best described as a condition in which the joints have too much mobility. This condition generally affects women more than men. Different hormone levels present in women, specifically Relaxin can influence hypermobility. This hormone is released to prepare the body for pregnancy, and its level in the blood changes throughout pregnancy process. It basically causes the ligaments to "relax" and allow for more movement to occur in the pelvic girdle region.
The best treatment options
Once appropriate manual techniques have been administered, a comprehensive exercise program must be implemented to address the following areas, specifically muscle imbalances:
Some S-I joint dysfunctions may linger on for months and even years. Remember, if you are engaged in a current treatment plan with little to no improvement, seek other options. If you think you may have an S-I joint dysfunction, the first step is to find a healthcare professional who is skilled and experienced in addressing muscle imbalances.
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