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Posted on 04-16-2014
One of the most common conditions that I encounter as a Chiropractic Physician is when a patient comes in with “hip pain”. When I ask the patient to point to where the pain is, they usually point to an area that is about two inches either side from the middle of their spine at about the level of the belt line on their pants.
This is NOT the hip, but instead it is where one of the two pelvic joints in the back are located. These joints are known as the Sacroiliac joints; or also known as the SI joints. This is probably the most common condition that I encounter. The hip joint is actually going to be found lower and more toward the outside of your leg and can be found by placing your hand over the bony prominence locate on the side of the person about 3-4 inches below the belt line.
SIGNS: SI joint injuries don’t show up on any imaging studies and are often mistaken for low back disc problems or lower lumbar vertebrae problems. Quite often the patient will be leaning to one side (usually opposite the injured SI joint), and have pain attempting to stand from a seated position, getting in/out of a car, or in/out of bed. SI joint pain can also be referred to the side of the leg and goes down to about the knee. This is often confused with “sciatica” and isn’t actually the case. A referred pain analogy is that of a heart attack where the damage is actually in the heart itself, but it will “refer” down to the left arm and up into the neck.
CAUSES: This is the injury that presents with the “I didn’t do anything” cause. Examples of this would be: “I just put my pants (or socks, etc) on, “I bent over in the shower to pick up the shampoo bottle”, I just reached into the refrigerator to get something”, etc. I’m sure you or someone you know has experienced this in the past. SI joints can also be injured in motor vehicle crashes.
TREATMENT for SI pain is limited in the health care community. I tell my patients that “this is why God made chiropractors”. Medically there isn’t much that can be done. Typical treatment is muscle relaxers, anti inflammatory meds, and at times pain meds. A cortisone injection into the SI joint can also be performed. These will help take the edge off the symptoms, but won’t fix the problem.
SI joint problems can usually be determined by a thorough history of how the injury occurred and orthopedic tests. Once it is determined that it is indeed a SI problem, chiropractic adjustments along with using ice and some walking take care of the vast majority of these conditions.
If you or someone you know has any of the signs of a SI joint problem listed above, call us at 252-441-1585. The sooner you address the problem, the less time it usually takes to correct it.
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While vacationing in the Outer Banks, I unfortunately threw my lower back out. The staff was kind and compassionate on every visit. A very special thanks to Dr. Hargraves! I was able to enjoy my vacation.
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