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SI Joint Pain: A Springfield, IL Chiropractor’s Perspective

If you have ever felt your lower back with your hands, you may have noticed a dimple on both sides in the lower portion of the lower back just above the buttock region. This dimple is the location of the sacroiliac joints, otherwise known as the SI joints. These joints are formed by the union of the sacrum, which is the base of the spine, and the ilium, which is one of three bones that make up the pelvic girdle. The joint itself is one of the largest in the body, sometimes spanning three to four inches long.

The SI joint itself does not move very much, but it does move in a fundamental way. The “rocking” between the ilium and sacrum creates our natural walking pattern and transmits the forces of the upper body through these large joints with minimal irritation or problems. After all, every step you take absorbs the weight of the upper body (plus the force of gravity) and transmits that force through each planted leg by way of the SI joint. So it must be a strong joint to withstand these forces.

SI joint dysfunction is a common cause of lower back pain and can contribute to other issues, such as sciatica. SI joint pain is classically felt on either side of the pelvis during transition movements, such as going from a seated position to a standing position. It also is closely linked to the hip joint and its function, creating a strong link between the lower back, the SI joints, and the hip joints. Thus, pain overlap is common across this region of the body.

Traditional medicine uses a combination of medications and physical therapy to treat SI joint pain. If those don’t work, steroid injections or even surgery may be in the cards, depending on the severity of the condition and its impact on the person’s quality of life. However, there are less invasive options that can yield fantastic results and return the SI joints to full function. The Springfield Wellness Center is uniquely positioned to help people seeking a different path to freedom from SI joint pain.

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How We Treat SI Joint Pain in Springfield, IL

Consultation and Examination

At the Springfield Wellness Center, your first visit is critical. The initial visit contains your consultation and examination with one of our doctors. During the consultation, your doctor will ask several questions about your SI joint pain, such as when it started, how it started, and if it is improving or worsening over time. Your doctor wants to hear your story and will really listen to capture all of this vital information. They want to understand how this pain has impacted your life and what it has prevented you from doing. The more information you can give, the better, as it helps your doctor reach the proper diagnosis.

After the consultation, your doctor will perform a thorough examination, including orthopedic, neurologic, and movement testing. These tests are designed to rule in and rule out certain conditions of the spine and pelvis and give the doctor more clarity about care recommendations. At your follow-up, the doctor will discuss these recommendations with you and give you various options on how best to proceed with your care at this facility.

Specific Chiropractic Care in Springfield, IL

The focal point of the care we provide for SI joint pain at the Springfield Wellness Center is chiropractic care. Chiropractic adjustments seek to correct misalignments in the spine and pelvis that cause irritation and stress on the nervous system. The longer you have these misalignments, the more problems they can cause. The SI joint commonly misaligns and causes one leg to appear shorter than the other. This creates unequal weight distribution, further exacerbating lower back and hip pain. Our doctors can restore normal SI joint function through chiropractic adjustments and help the body get into a position where it can heal over time without using drugs or surgery. The body has an amazing capacity to heal, it just needs the right environment, and chiropractic helps to provide that.

Massage Therapy and Soft Tissue Work

Like other joints in the body, the SI joint has muscles that surround, support, and facilitate its movement. As dysfunction sets in, it is common for these muscles to become stiff, tight, achy, and irritated. They can feel like “knots,” which can be very painful, especially with movement. At the Springfield Wellness Center, we have recognized that addressing the soft tissue component of SI joint pain is critical to getting the best results for our patients. That is why we have different ways to treat it available to those who need it. First, massage therapy is a great way to reduce tension and promote the healthy function of muscles. Our licensed massage therapists will work with you individually to find out what you need to deliver fantastic results for you. If massage therapy isn’t for you, our chiropractors also use different muscle techniques such as Active Release Technique or Graston Technique to break up muscle adhesions and relieve pain. Good muscle balance and function are key to addressing SI joint pain, which is why we place such a high emphasis on it.

Therapeutic Exercise

As part of the pelvis, the SI joint requires a great deal of stability. It is not a joint that moves very much, but it is a vital joint for force transmission from the upper half of the body through the lower half. Corrective exercise is one of the best ways to develop stability in the pelvic area, and this is a vital component of the care we provide at the Springfield Wellness Center. To achieve stability and balance, we must address a common problem seen in a wide variety of people known as Lower Cross Syndrome. This pattern of muscle imbalance is distinguished by weakness in the abdominal and gluteal muscles and tightness in the lower back and hip flexor muscles. These muscle groups form an X when looking at the body from the side, and this syndrome is a frequent source of lower back pain and instability in this region. Doing corrective exercises properly and consistently is the key to eliminating Lower Cross Syndrome, stabilizing the pelvis and SI joints, and alleviating pain and weakness in these areas. Our trainer will guide you through the necessary steps to get the most out of your exercise at our facility.

Deep Tissue Laser in Springfield, IL

One of the most common sources of SI joint pain is inflammation within the joint space, known as sacroiliitis. To address this inflammation, we utilize cutting-edge technology here at the Springfield Wellness Center to get better results in a more accelerated manner. This technology is called Deep Tissue Laser, but it is not a laser like we see in the movies. This laser uses red light energy that penetrates deep into the tissue, down to the cellular level. There, the light stimulates chemical reactions in the cells that help produce energy to combat inflammation and accelerate the healing process. Deep tissue laser takes only about 3-5 minutes, so it is a quick treatment and painless for the patient to receive. Utilizing deep tissue laser over the SI joint area can help sacroiliitis heal naturally, without using drugs and more invasive interventions such as steroid injections into the joint. Having deep tissue laser as part of your comprehensive care plan allows us to get the best outcomes for your health and healing.

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Common Causes of SI Joint Pain in Springfield, IL

Traumatic Injury

A common mechanism of injury to the SI joint is an accident or acute trauma. For example, auto accidents frequently cause SI joint pain because of the force of impact and how that force gets transmitted through the leg into the SI joint. This creates irritation and inflammation, resulting in pain and difficulty walking.

Another common traumatic injury to the SI joint is sports injuries. Falls happen all the time in sports, both contact and non-contact, so impact to the pelvis and SI joint can cause damage to the joint on occasion. Repetitive action like frequent bending for work or daily housework tasks is another type of traumatic injury. Bending causes stress on the SI joint, and if done enough over time, it can lead to SI joint dysfunction and pain. As with any injury, it is important to begin care as soon as possible to address the problem early in its development and ensure the best recovery.


During pregnancy, it is inevitable that there will be aches and pains along the way. Many changes occur in the body, especially in the pelvis, for a baby to be successfully labored and delivered. The human body utilizes a hormone called relaxin, which causes joints and ligaments to become looser, including joints that are normally rigid and mostly immobile. When these joints become more mobile, it typically causes discomfort, and this is perhaps most common in the SI joints.

One way to combat SI joint pain during pregnancy in everyday life is to use a trochanteric belt, which is worn around the hips and SI joints to bring more stability to the region. Chiropractic care is another excellent way to ensure that pain is kept to a minimum and that the pelvis and lower back continue to stay in good alignment. This can ultimately allow for a smoother labor and delivery process.


One of the most common non-traumatic causes of SI joint pain is arthritis – the natural degeneration of the joint that occurs slowly over time. Often referred to as “wear and tear,” the degenerative process is primarily dictated by lifestyle. A career filled with heaving lifting and regular bending can trigger early onset degeneration in the SI joints due to the constant load placed on them. The pain is typically dull and achy but can be sharper with specific movements, such as going from a seated position to a standing position. The key to delaying the onset or progression of this condition is mobility, exercises such as running or bicycling can be effective in keeping joint spacing and mobility as good as possible for as long as possible. Ultimately, arthritis is not reversible but can be slowed to ensure the highest quality of life possible.


Because the SI joints transmit such a large amount of force at almost all times, balance and weight distribution are essential to ensure both joints can function optimally. One condition that makes this very difficult is scoliosis, in which abnormal side-to-side curvatures are present in the spine. These curvatures are considered idiopathic, meaning they happen for no particular reason from a very young age. They cause the weight and forces transmitted through the spine to be unequal and usually result in one side of the pelvis being higher than the other, which further causes unequal stress on the SI joints. Chiropractic care and exercise can help provide better joint movement and muscle balance, which can help relieve both spine and SI joint pain due to scoliosis.

Spinal Fusion

Sometimes, when there is too much degeneration in a spinal joint, the last resort is for a spinal surgeon to perform a fusion surgery that fuses the two vertebrae. This is most commonly done in the lower back at L4-L5 and L5-S1. When you fuse a segment of the spine, you eliminate all movement in that particular joint. This means that for movement to occur, it has to come from the surrounding joints, which can place more stress on them. One of these joints that receives more stress are the SI joints. Chiropractic is critical in postoperative care because it helps maintain proper movement and alignment of the joints surrounding the fusion site. This will help prevent them from wearing down faster due to the increased workload they experience

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of doctor do I see for SI joint pain?

A chiropractor is the best doctor you can see for a natural solution to SI joint pain. They are experts in the function and biomechanics of the SI joint and have many treatments available that are safe, non-invasive, and address the actual cause of the SI joint pain. Your chiropractor will work with you to find the right treatment plan to meet your goals and get you back to living life your way.

What is the best way to get rid of SI joint pain?

The best way to get rid of SI joint pain depends on the root cause. Typically, however, a combination of chiropractic care, soft tissue work, and corrective/rehabilitative exercise can lead to great results with SI joint pain that can help fix the problem and prevent it from returning.

What helps an inflamed SI joint?

SI joint inflammation can be common during pregnancy. It can also result from infection, arthritis, or repetitive use. It is essential to determine the cause of the inflammation to treat it appropriately. Pregnancy, arthritis, and repetitive use can be helped through natural treatments such as chiropractic and laser therapy, while inflammation caused by infection may require pharmaceutical intervention.

What does SI joint pain feel like?

SI joint pain can be felt in many different ways. If it is due to a chronic problem, it is likely to feel like a dull, achy pain that is constantly present. If it is due to an acute injury, it is likely to feel like a sharp, stabbing pain, especially with specific movements such as going from a seated to a standing position. It all depends on the source of the pain.

Does walking help SI joint pain?

Yes, walking is an excellent way to help alleviate SI joint pain. Our joints are made to move, and while the SI joint doesn’t experience much movement compared to other joints, the movement that does occur there is still very important to the health of the joint. Walking is a low-force activity that can be done regularly for joint health in general, including the SI joints.

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