Key Point #7: Learning to Adjust My Own SI Joints

Another major way my physical therapist Paula helped me was by teaching me to adjust my own SI joints.

The general name for the type of adjustment she taught me to use is called Muscle Energy Technique, or MET.

Essentially, the Muscle Energy Technique allows you to correct a forward or backward rotation of the hip bones, by tensing the right muscles.

(Again, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, another way to refer to the problem of is to say that you are correcting an anterior or posterior rotation of the ilium).

Many people first receive MET adjustments, often called manual adjustments, from their physical therapists.  But it *is* possible to perform them yourself– if, and only if, you have someone qualified show you how.

I would say that the most difficult thing to get right about these adjustments is knowing which way your hips are rotated in the first place.

Paula adjusted my hips for me during my first few visits, and then we progressed to me performing my own adjustments under her supervision.

It wasn’t so much that the adjustments themselves were hard– it was making the initial diagnosis and knowing which way my hip bones were rotated in the first place.

This is so key, because if you perform an adjustment to move your SI joints the wrong way, well, you’ve just made things worse.

Luckily, thanks to all the time I’d spent getting chiropractic adjustments over the past few years– when I always made them tell me what was going on, instead of just silently adjusting me– I had already begun to develop a pretty good sense for which way things were going.  So Paula was mostly able to just confirm what I already thought.

(Generally speaking, if your SI joints are continually rotating out of place, it is more likely than not that they are usually going in the same direction.  In other words, if it’s usually your left hip bone that’s rotating backwards, and your right hip bone that’s rotating forwards, that will tend to be your usual pattern.  It is possible for the pattern of dysfunction to switch, especially if you have some kind of precipitating event, but in general I’ve found that my body tended to get stuck in a pattern of one kind or another).

Anyway, learning how to adjust my own SI joints meant

A) I was able to become much more independent, no longer living in fear of having to get through a whole weekend without being able to go to the chiropractor if one of my SIJ’s locked up.

B) Over time, I came to realize that chiropractic visits, although they helped to “unstick” my SI joints in the short term, were actually having a destabilizing effect on my pelvis as a whole.  (I figured this out by accident when I spent three weeks in California, without getting any adjustments).

Once I realized this, I cut way, way back on chiropractic visits and almost exclusively used my self-adjustments to keep things in line.

This development, I really feel, marked the most significant turning point I really needed in order to be on my way to heal.

For more on MET:

You can find a lot more information on my Muscle Energy Technique page.  Please be sure to check it out!

To continue on: Key Point #8: Discovering chiropractic adjustments had been re-spraining my ligaments the entire time (and deciding not to receive them anymore) — this link will take you to my original post on my main blog, Sunlight in Winter

3 thoughts on “Key Point #7: Learning to Adjust My Own SI Joints

  1. Meredith says:

    Hello! I too cried when I finally saw vickis video. Four years of constant injuries and pains and doctors only treatimg the hurt limb at the time. Finally a PT pointed out my hips were constantly rotating after each session I returned. Al this research led me here. Had a si joint injection to confirm the diagnosis but have Malalignment syndrome for certain

    If I’ve been Malalignment for at least 4-5 years I think PT will only help a little. Considering PRP of si joint ligaments. Did you ever try it?

    Thank you for the great information!

    Like

    • sunlight in winter says:

      Hi Meredith! I’ve been meaning to write a post about this. I actually looked into prolotherapy at one point, but the doctor I consulted ended up telling me she wouldn’t recommend it for me, once I explained how mobile my SI joints were. Basically, she said it wouldn’t do any good (or would make things worse) to try to tighten up the ligaments, if it ended up tightening my joints into the wrong position.

      But this is only my experience– I definitely think you should look into it! Your situation might turn out to be completely different from mine. I recommend this SI joint Facebook group, in which a lot of people talk about their experiences with prolotherapy: https://www.facebook.com/groups/579529535420630/

      I think it’s still possible that physical therapy could help you as well, especially if the SI joints haven’t been the focus of your treatments… it’s just that, unfortunately, it seems to be really, really hard to find the right person to treat the SI joints. I really recommend aquatic therapy more than any other form of PT/exercise, because I personally found it was the best way to build strength without putting extra stress on the joints.

      Hope this is helpful!

      Like

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