“My Aching Sacroiliac!”
“After years of failed back surgeries to correct this problem,
the medical profession has finally concluded their approach was incorrect,
and that the chiropractic explanation was correct all along.”
JC Smith, MA, DC
Former comedian Jack Benny often joked about his sacroiliac pain, but most people had little idea what he was actually talking about. While the word “sacroiliac” may not be a commonly used term, it certainly applies to many people’s painful back problem. Now recent research has discovered what many low back pain patients like Jack Benny have always known — that a sacroiliac sprain is a very painful condition, and is best treated by chiropractic care.
“The sacroiliac joint appears to be the single greatest cause of back pain. The range of motion is small and difficult to describe, but when the normal joint play is lost, agonizing pain can be precipitated,” according to John Bourdillon, MD, and Edward Day, MD. Anyone who has ever “thrown out” their low back by lifting incorrectly or by suffering a bad fall can attest to what science is just now beginning to understand — that is, the sacroiliac is very painful.
The sacroiliac joints are located on both sides of the sacrum, or tailbone. The illum are commonly known as the hip bones that butt against the triangular shaped tailbone. Consequently, the two sacroiliac (SI) joints are main joints in the pelvis. The sacrum and SI joints are the literal basis of the spine. All loads from above (spine, trunk, upper extremities) and all forces from below (the leg) are transmitted through the pelvic ring and SI joints. The pelvis is intimately coupled with the lower vertebral column and legs by muscles, ligamental and fascial structures, along with the lumbar and pelvic nerves, such as the sciatic nerve that goes down each leg
For years the medical profession denied that the SI joints could move and had no impact on low back or leg pain. Instead, they tried to convince the public that all low back pain was due to “pulled muscles” or “slipped discs.” After years of failed back surgeries to correct this problem, the medical profession has finally concluded their approach was incorrect, and that the chiropractic explanation that the SI joints did misalign to create this pain was correct all along. “The conventional wisdom is that herniated discs are responsible for low back pain, and that sacroiliac joints do not move significantly and do not cause low back pain or dysfunction. The ironic reality may well be that sacroiliac joint dysfunctions are the major cause of low back pain, as well as the primary factor causing disc space degeneration, and ultimate herniation of disc material,” according to Joseph Shaw, MD, orthopedic surgeon.
On the basis of a study of 1000 patients with low back pain in his clinic, Dr. Shaw concluded:
- 98% of the patients had a mechanical dysfunction of the SI joints as a major cause of their low back pain.
- Treatment of these patients by restoration of full sacroiliac joint motion led to relief of symptoms in almost all cases.
- Most remarkable was the absence of need for surgery in these patients. Only two patients needed surgery for protruded discs.
This recent medical research verifies what Jack Benny and doctors of chiropractic have known for decades — that misalignments of the SI joints cause painful and widespread problems for many patients. But don’t think that low back pain happens only to adults. The research has found that many children also suffer from low-back pain. Afterall, most adults spinal problems actually begin in youth when children suffer falls from bikes, skates, and sports activities. Too often these injuries go undetected and uncorrected, only to relapse later in life. In one recent study it was found that 29.9% of pupils aged 6-12 had low back pain, and that 41.5% of high school students aged 12-17 had SI joint pain. These patients with SI pain responded excellently to chiropractic management with spinal adjustments.
In another study done in a Canadian hospital clinic with 283 chronic low back and leg pain patients, 117 (41%) had previously undiagnosed sacroiliac syndrome. Of these 117, who were totally disabled and had an average duration of pain of 8 years, 90% returned to normal activities of daily living after 23 weeks of daily chiropractic care. This improvement was maintained after one year.
With the numerous recent clinical studies cited, it is painfully obvious that the outdated medical explanation that most low back pain is either a pulled muscle or slipped disc is wrong. Scientific research has clearly shown that the misalignment of these SI joints is the major contributor of this problem, and that chiropractic adjustments along with spinal muscular exercises are the most effective methods of treatment. If you have been suffering with low back pain, and simply taking muscle relaxes and pain pills, or worse yet, contemplating a disc surgery, take heart to learn there is a safer and more effective way to get well naturally through chiropractic spinal care.
1. Shaw, JL (1992) “The Role of the Sacroiliac Joints as a Cause of Low Back Pain and Dysfunction”, proceedings of the First Interdisciplinary World Congress on Low Back Pain and its Relation to the Sacroiliac joint, University of California, San Diego, Nov. 5-6, 1992
2. Bourdillon JF and Day EA (1987) “Spinal Manipulation”, Heinemann Medical Books, London
3. Mierau DR, Cassidy JD (1984) “Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction and Low Back Pain in School Aged Children” JMPT.
4. Cassidy JD, Kirkaldy-Willis WH, and McCregor M (1985) “Spinal Manipulation for the Treatment of Chronic Low Back and Leg Pain: An Observational Study”