Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction is a condition that affects the sacroiliac joints, which connect the sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of the spine) to the ilium (part of the pelvis). Dysfunction in these joints can lead to significant pain and discomfort in the lower back, buttocks, and legs. This article provides a comprehensive overview of sacroiliac joint dysfunction, including common symptoms, potential causes, available medical treatments, and alternative therapies such as massage. Additionally, we will explore the benefits of chiropractic care in managing SI joint dysfunction and introduce the Zone Technique, a specialized chiropractic approach that may offer the best solution for addressing the root causes and promoting healing.

Understanding Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

The sacroiliac joints play a crucial role in transferring weight and forces between the upper body and legs. Dysfunction in these joints can result from either too much or too little movement, leading to pain and instability.

Symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Symptoms can vary but typically include:

  • Lower Back Pain: Pain often located on one side of the lower back.
  • Buttock Pain: Pain that radiates into the buttocks and may extend down the legs.
  • Leg Pain: Pain that mimics sciatica, without nerve root compression.
  • Stiffness and Limited Mobility: Reduced range of motion in the lower back and hips.
  • Pain with Movement: Pain that worsens with standing, walking, or sitting for prolonged periods.

Causes of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

SI joint dysfunction can result from various factors, including trauma, repetitive stress, and degenerative changes.

1. Trauma

  • Falls and Accidents: Direct impact or forceful movements can cause injury to the SI joints.
  • Sports Injuries: Activities that involve twisting, bending, or heavy lifting can lead to SI joint dysfunction.

2. Repetitive Stress

  • Occupational Hazards: Jobs that require prolonged sitting, standing, or heavy lifting can place stress on the SI joints.
  • Improper Lifting Techniques: Incorrect lifting can strain the lower back and pelvis.

3. Degenerative Changes

  • Arthritis: Degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis) can affect the SI joints, leading to pain and dysfunction.
  • Pregnancy: Hormonal changes and increased weight during pregnancy can cause laxity and instability in the SI joints.

4. Structural Abnormalities

  • Leg Length Discrepancy: Differences in leg length can lead to uneven pressure and SI joint dysfunction.
  • Spinal Curvatures: Conditions like scoliosis can affect the alignment of the SI joints.

5. Inflammatory Conditions

  • Sacroiliitis: Inflammation of one or both SI joints, often associated with inflammatory conditions like ankylosing spondylitis.

Medical Treatments

Treating sacroiliac joint dysfunction often involves a combination of pain management, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications.

1. Medications

  • Pain Relievers: Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen) can help manage pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Muscle Relaxants: Prescribed to relieve muscle spasms and improve mobility.
  • Corticosteroids: Injections to reduce inflammation and provide temporary pain relief.

2. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy focuses on:

  • Strengthening Exercises: Targeted exercises to strengthen core and pelvic muscles.
  • Stretching Routines: Stretching to improve flexibility and reduce muscle tightness.
  • Manual Therapy: Techniques such as joint mobilization and soft tissue massage to reduce pain and improve mobility.
  • Postural Training: Education on proper posture and body mechanics to prevent recurrence.

3. Rest and Activity Modification

  • Rest: Reducing activities that exacerbate symptoms to allow for healing.
  • Ergonomic Adjustments: Making changes to workstations and daily activities to reduce stress on the SI joints.

4. Orthotics and Supports

  • Custom Orthotics: Inserts designed to correct foot mechanics and provide support.
  • Lumbar Supports: Use of braces or supports to stabilize the lower back and pelvis.

5. Surgery

  • Surgical Intervention: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to correct structural issues and stabilize the SI joints.

Alternative Treatments

In addition to conventional medical treatments, several alternative therapies can help manage sacroiliac joint dysfunction and improve quality of life.

1. Massage Therapy

Massage therapy can help alleviate symptoms by:

  • Improving Circulation: Enhanced blood flow can promote healing and reduce muscle tension.
  • Reducing Muscle Tension: Relaxing the muscles and tissues can decrease pain and improve mobility.
  • Promoting Relaxation: Reducing stress and anxiety can help manage pain and support overall well-being.

2. Acupuncture

Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate nerves and muscles, potentially reducing pain and promoting healing.

3. Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care focuses on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders, particularly those involving the spine and joints. Chiropractors use various techniques to adjust the spine and other joints to improve alignment, reduce nerve compression, and enhance overall health.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care

  • Non-Invasive: Chiropractic adjustments are a non-surgical treatment option.
  • Pain Relief: Many patients experience significant pain relief after chiropractic treatments.
  • Improved Function: Chiropractic care can improve mobility and function, reducing the impact of SI joint dysfunction.
  • Holistic Approach: Chiropractors often address overall health, including nutrition and lifestyle factors, which can contribute to better outcomes.

The Zone Technique: A Specialized Chiropractic Approach

While typical chiropractic care offers numerous benefits for managing sacroiliac joint dysfunction, there is a specialized technique known as the Zone Technique that may provide the best results for eliminating symptoms and addressing the root cause.

What is the Zone Technique?

The Zone Technique is a chiropractic method developed by Dr. Peter Goldman. It focuses on balancing six systems within the body, which Dr. Goldman refers to as “zones”: the glandular, eliminative, nervous, digestive, muscular, and circulatory systems. The theory is that imbalances in these zones can lead to various health issues, including SI joint dysfunction.

How Does the Zone Technique Work?

  1. Assessment: The chiropractor assesses the patient’s zones by palpating specific points on the head.
  2. Zone Balancing: Based on the assessment, the chiropractor performs adjustments to specific areas of the spine and body to restore balance to the affected zones.
  3. Follow-Up: Regular follow-up sessions help maintain balance and address any recurring issues.

Why the Zone Technique is Effective

  • Holistic Approach: By addressing multiple systems in the body, the Zone Technique aims to treat the root cause of symptoms rather than just the symptoms themselves.
  • Personalized Care: Each treatment is tailored to the individual’s specific imbalances, providing a customized approach to healing.
  • Comprehensive Healing: By restoring balance to the body’s systems, the Zone Technique can promote overall health and prevent future issues.


Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can significantly impact an individual’s ability to perform daily activities and maintain a high quality of life. Understanding the potential causes and available treatments is crucial for managing this condition effectively. While medical treatments and alternative therapies such as massage can provide relief, chiropractic care offers a non-invasive and holistic approach that can significantly improve outcomes.

Among the various chiropractic techniques, the Zone Technique stands out as a comprehensive method that addresses the root causes of sacroiliac joint dysfunction by balancing the body’s systems. By considering this specialized approach, individuals suffering from SI joint dysfunction may find the most effective and lasting relief from their symptoms, ultimately leading to improved function and overall well-being.

Are You Ready to Heal?