Malalignment Syndrome (Vicki Sims video)

So. I feel like I need to preface this by telling you that the first time I watched this, I actually cried.

Something about it was just so overwhelming.  (This was sometime back in 2014 when I was still pretty lost, looking for answers).   For some reason, this video scared me and made me feel as though I was finally being taken seriously, all at the same time.

So… here’s what I will say.   Malalignment syndrome is a real thing, and it’s important for you and your treating medical professionals to be aware that having SI joint dysfunction is likely to create problems in other parts of your body.  (It would be pretty shocking if it didn’t).

However, at the same time, I would like to reassure you that, in this video, Vicki is giving you an overview of the many, many different things that can go wrong as a result of SIJD.  You will not develop all of these, and even if you do– the changes are more likely than not going to be reversible.

So.  Be glad that someone hears you, understands you, and is taking SIJD seriously.  Do not watch this video and assume everything Vicki’s describing is happening to you.

Okay.  So what is malalignment syndrome?

In a nutshell, it means that if your pelvis is rotated, the rest of your body is going to have to compensate.

One major reason why this happens is something called the “righting reflex.”  Your brain always wants your eyes to be level.  (I don’t normally link to Wikipedia, but in this case I think it has a good explanation).

Without the righting relfex, if your pelvis was tilted, it would mean your whole spine all the way up to your neck and to your head would also be tilted, and your head would be cocked to one side.

This would be horrible on an indefinite basis. You would be dizzy and have trouble moving through the world.

So, without your conscious awareness, the righting reflex will cause you to change the way you hold your spine and neck so that your eyes are level.  Basically, you will develop (reversible!) curves in your spine to compensate for the fact that your pelvis is off-kilter.

Now, please don’t freak out.  I can’t tell you how many times I went to my chiropractor and he mentioned the righting reflex.  But it was very matter-of-fact, just to explain what was going on.  It was never permanent, and, in fact, what my spine was doing tended to change from week to week.

Now, as you may know, I have mixed feelings on chiropractic adjustments for SIJD.  But I do believe my chiropractor usually knew what he was talking about, at least when it came to diagnosing what was up with my back from week to week.

So.  Before I let you go, I will reiterate that I was able to heal my SI joint problems, as well as my accompanying malalignment, and it is highly likely that you can too.


About Vicki Sims

Vicki Sims is a physical therapist who specializes in SI joint dysfunction.  She is co-director the physical therapy practice Gainesville Physical Therapy in Gainesville, AL, where people come from out of state for consultations on SIJD.

Vicki and Gainesville PT have a lot of interesting resources available on the Web, including:

SIDysfunction Youtube channel.

I definitely plan to review more of her videos and articles in the future, but here this is to get you started!

2 thoughts on “Malalignment Syndrome (Vicki Sims video)

  1. Chantelle Andrews says:

    I have had Si injections MdI guided 4 time and received no relief. This dysfunction has me in the psychiatric ward right now because I wanted to take my life. I have had it for 4! years and it has ruined and taken everything from me I can’t even care for myself. It is from my neck to toe on my right side. I have spent $25k trying to get help and finally gave up on Dr’’s.
    spending hundreds of hours researching myself. No sleep and in excruciating pain 24/7, I don’t know where to turn. What specific exercises can I do? Who can I go see that can actually help me?


    • sunlight in winter says:

      HI Chantelle, I’m so sorry to hear about this. I’m glad that right now you’re in a place where you are safe. That’s priority #1.

      I’m happy to try to help you in any way I can. It sounds as though injections aren’t going to be the answer for you, but that doesn’t mean something else won’t be. I personally got better through a combination of strengthening the muscles surrounding the joints, as well as learning to realign them through the Muscle Energy Technique, which I learned from a physical therapist.

      I bet you’ve probably had PT before, but the truth is that not all physical therapists are truly knowledgeable about the SI joint. There are a lot of advanced/continuing education courses they can take that will help them treat patients with SI joint/pelvic pain a lot better. Here is one example of such a course:

      As a patient, it’s hard to know who really is an “expert,” because we obviously don’t know the answers ourselves. Looking back I can see that the first few PT’s I saw were not particularly knowledgeable about the SI joint, but there was no way for me to know that at the time. It’s only when I found someone who *really* helped me that I understood.

      So I would try to look for a PT who has particular experience with the SI joint, and can say that he or she has actually treated patients with SI joint dysfunction successfully. I would also look for someone who is comfortable adjusting the joint using the Muscle Energy Technique.

      If you look on this page under the “Physical Therapy” section, you’ll see what it took for me to find the PT that really helped me, as well as some additional search tips.

      Since injections haven’t helped you, I think that looking for a knowledgeable physical therapist at this point might be your best bet. Doctors tend to recommend injections simply because that’s what they know best, but there are people (like me) who get better without them. I think you might find a lot of benefit in strengthening your muscles (particularly the muscles of the core, as well as back of the SI joints — aka the “glutes”– if you are also working with a PT who helps makes sure your joints are in alignment.

      Okay– I hope this helps! Feel free to let me know if you have any more questions!


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