A problem I struggled with for years, secondary to my SI joint issues, is segmental spinal hypermobility. Basically, because the motion of my pelvis was restricted, it put extra strain on my spine. (This can happen to any part of the spine, but in my case it was the lumbar spine, or lower back, that was most affected).
Similar to with SI joint dysfunction, the two main factors in spinal hypermobility are loose ligaments and muscle weakness. Luckily, the rehab for both can be fairly similar— you have to take the strain off of the ligaments by strengthening the muscles.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the correct information about this for a long time. Instead, the chiropractor I was seeing only told me that my vertebrae were rotated out of position. I understood my condition as lumbar rotation, and was never able to find anyone else to treat it. I asked all of my PT’s, but they said it wasn’t something they’d studied in school.
So for years, this problem was sort of in the background to my SI joint issue. I honestly never thought that much about it, because it mostly improved as my SI joint issues did. Once my SI joints got stronger and I started using my body more, it would come back occasionally, if I overworked the muscles in my low back. But it wasn’t a big deal, because I could just run back to my chiropractor and he’d make the pain go away.
But then, this past May, everything changed. I went to my chiropractor for what should have been a routine adjustment, and ended up in the emergency room with a temporary nerve injury (which, thank God, only turned out to be temporary).
Since then, I’ve been doing a lot of research into exactly what’s been going on with my lumbar spine, and how safe chiropractic adjustments really are (in my opinion, not very).
I realized I couldn’t ignore this problem or leave it on the back burner anymore. So I’ve been doing my best to understand it, and also research all of the alternatives to chiropractic adjustments.
So far, I’ve learned a ton! Some of this, I can’t believe I didn’t know sooner, and I’m excited to share it with you!
Because the lumbar spine and the SI joints are so closely related, I think that what I have to say in these posts will likely be useful to many of you.
So… here’s what I have so far.
Lumbar Rotation vs. SI Joint Dysfunction. This was my original post on the topic, back in 2017. Obviously, I no longer consider it to be my most accurate post on the subject, but I wanted to leave it up so that you have an understanding of what I thought the problem was, as my chiropractor had explained it to me.
About the relationship between the SI joints and the rest of the spine:
- How SI joint dysfunction can affect the rest of your body
- Malalignment Syndrome (Vicki Sims video)
- How does the SI joint relate to other causes of lower back pain? (video from Coordinated Health)
- Can SI joint dysfunction be caused by lumbar fusion surgery? (basically, if you restrict motion at the spine, the SI joints end up compensating).
Next, the chiropractic injury:
Researching alternatives to chiropractic adjustments:
The Feldenkrais Method and SI joint pain: can this gentle technique be used to re-train the nervous system to help you maintain better posture?
Integrative Spinal Research: collaboration between chiropractors and traditional medicine at University of Balgrist, Switzerland.
Lumbar Spine Epiphany, Part 1: realizing that a more accurate term for the pain I was experiencing was segmental spinal instability. And that, contrary to what I had thought, I didn’t have to depend on chiropractors to treat it– PT’s can treat it as well.
Lumbar Spine Epiphany, Part 2: Explains a little more about segmental spinal instability and how to treat it.
My search for providers who understand both chiropractic and mainstream medicine. Although my injury didn’t turn out to be serious, I never got an exact explanation from anyone about my symptoms. Part of the problem was that none of the people treating me were familiar with chiropractic adjustments. That’s when I decided to seek out people who’d had training in both areas.
My meeting with a Primary Spine Specialist (who doesn’t believe in SI joint dysfunction!).