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Moving Toward Better Health

The official blog of Konicki Schumacher Chiropractic


One-Sided Low Back Pain

Posted by Dr. Tom Konicki
Dr. Tom Konicki
Dr. Thomas Konicki earned his B.S. in Biology at the University of Cincinnati and then went on to the Los Ange...
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in Orthopedic Conditions/Injuries

If you have low back pain near your belt line, usually on one side only, and pain in your buttock, you probably have sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SJD). This simply means your sacroiliac joint isn't working right.

Sacroiliac joints are the largest joints in your spine. They are found at the base of your spine, between your ilium (the large, flat pelvic bone) and the sacrum (the upside - down triangular bone at the base of the spine).

Some people will have two small dimples on each side right where the sacroiliac joint exists.

It is estimated that sacroiliac pain accounts for up to 25% of all low back pain. There are many nerves and large ligaments that provide stability for the pelvis, capable of causing pain.

These joints move slightly in terms of gliding, rotation and tilting to allow your hips to move more freely.

Even though SJD can strike both joints at the same time, I usually see it hit only one side or the other. This is an extremely common complaint in our office, since chiropractic care is known to be effective in treating this pain.

The most common way to injure your sacroiliac joint is to bend and twist simultaneously.
This type of action often "puts your back out". Chiropractors call these misalignments "subluxations".

This is different than a complete dislocation, where ligaments are torn to such a degree to dislocate the joint. This can only happen with severe trauma and advanced medical care is required.

Another cause of sacroiliac pain is a short leg. If you are walking or standing uneven, this often results in pain, dysfunction and misalignment at the sacroiliac joint.

Foot problems such as pronation or an abnormal gait can cause SJD. This is also true of knee and hip problems.

Lastly, pregnancy causes the ligaments of the pelvis to relax during the third trimester. Relaxation combined with weight gain often causes SJD. Chiropractic care is safe and effective for expectant mothers, often providing relief until the baby is born.

More serious conditions such as infection and inflammatory arthritis can cause SJD.

Sacroiliac pain can radiate into your leg, much like a disc injury. It can be difficult to determine the difference between the two types of injuries.

We perform a physical examination, take standing x-rays and use orthopedic tests to diagnose your problem. If needed, an MRI will rule out a disc problem.

Treatment consists of manipulation to this region, which I find to be extremely effective. Additionally, we prescribe exercise, and when to use ice or heat.

Prevention may include foot orthotics, a heel lift for a short leg or even changes in how you sit at work.

If these types of treatments are not helpful, a sacroiliac joint injection may be of benefit. Another treatment includes radiofrequency denervation, which destroys the nerves in the area of the sacroiliac, preventing pain. Surgery is rarely used to treat these types of problems, typically only for fractures or dislocations.

Information from American Chiropractic Association

Copyright © 2008 - Konicki Schumacher Chiropractic. All rights reserved.

Dr. Tom Konicki, a certified chiropractic orthopedist, has practiced for many years with his wife Dr. Bethany Schumacher in South Dayton. Contact him at www.kschiro.com or 937-439-5400. Mail questions to Ask the Chiropractor, 2165 Miamisburg-Centerville Road, Dayton, Ohio 45459

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