I first developed my sacroiliac joint issues in 2011, after a fall in which I experienced blunt force to the pelvis, spraining some of my SI joint ligaments.
The first time one of my Si joints locked up, I didn’t know what to do. It felt as though someone had tied a belt around my upper thighs– I couldn’t control my legs normally. A second ago, I’d been able to walk– now all I could do was hobble.
A chiropractor is the one who explained to me that this “locking” sensation was my SI joint. With a few clicks of his “Activator” tool, he was able to unlock the joint, and my legs were free again.
I’d never heard of the SI joint before, but boy, was I in for a long ride.
Although chiropractic adjustments helped temporarily, years later I would realize that having too many adjustments was actually making things worse, making it harder for my body to stabilize.
The reason I went to a chiropractor for years was because chiropractors seemed to be the only people who even knew what I was talking about when I mentioned “sacroiliac joint dysfunction.”
I tried repeatedly to find a doctor or a physical therapist who also understood the mysterious locking sensation in my pelvis, or the reason it was sometimes so hard for me to move my legs. Over the years I saw several physical therapists, as well as pain specialists, physiatrists, and orthopedists.
But time and time again, doctors and PT’s would tell me SI joint dysfunction wasn’t something they treated. Instead, it was something they had learned about in a vague sense when they were studying anatomy in school, but they knew nothing about its potential to cause pain.
For years, I felt like a crazy person, walking around telling people I had this really serious lower back problem that only chiropractors could understand. I mean, it sounds crazy, right?
Ultimately, it turned out that I wasn’t crazy, and that this problem was every bit as real as I thought it was.
It would take five years for me to fully understand what was going on, and what my body needed. I had to persevere and educate myself, and really take matters into my own hands to figure out what worked for me.
There were a few key lessons I had to learn along the way, including which muscles to strengthen, and how to do it safely without re-injuring the SI joint. Ultimately, my real turning point came when a physical therapist showed me how to adjust my SI joints myself, and I was able to stop receiving chiropractic adjustments.
And what I did learn is that there are doctors and PT’s who understand this problem. They are just few and far between, because historically the medical field has focused on the spine as the source of back pain, rather than the SI joint.
However, awareness of SI joint dysfunction is growing. In the time I’ve worked on this blog, I’ve seen more and more articles pop up, as well as continuing education courses for physical therapists on SI joint dysfunction.
There are also many new treatments for SIJD being developed, some of which are still in the research stage. I write about these potential new options on my blog, including surgical options and prolotherapy injections. I also link to other bloggers who have shared their experiences.
If you are struggling with SI joint dysfunction, there are reasons for you to be optimistic about your ability to heal.
The most important thing is to investigate all of your options– what works for one person may not work for another, when something else will. This is why, on my blog, I write about all of the treatment approaches I’m aware of, not only the ones that worked for me.
You never know when things can change in an instant– the most important thing is to keep searching and trying new things.
For more about my journey with SIJD, you can check out my personal blog posts. They provide a window into what it was like for me to live with this problem at different levels of understanding, from when I felt lost and knew completely nothing, to the point I’m at now.