Lower back & Leg Pain – The SI Joints struggle

You’re walking throughout the grocery store and start feeling a pain that is radiating from your lower back down your legs.  While your brain might automatically go to sciatica, it could be something very different.

The Sacroiliac or SI joints are large weight-bearing joints that hold our pelvic bones together.  Unlike other joints in our body, these joints do not move by direct muscle action, they move in a way that absorbs the side-to-side movement that would otherwise create excessive wear and tear stress to our lower spine.

SI joints have a rich supply of nerve endings.  These nerves communicate with our brain to help us walk.  The information gathered is used by our brain to orchestrate and control muscle contraction in our neck, back, shoulders and legs to create smooth walking.

The problem occurs when stress or trauma on the joint(s) stimulates the nerve endings, which frequently causes leg pain that can be misdiagnosed as sciatica, which requires a totally different treatment plan.

What stresses the SI joints?

Since the SI joints are weight bearing, many movements have the ability to damage the joints over time.    These include, but are not limited to…

  • Standing on one leg with your pelvis cocked to one side.
  • Deep bending or deep squatting
  • Crossing your legs above the ankles
  • Crossing the knee past the mid-line
  • Leaning to one side while sitting

In addition, accidents, slips and falls and most any low back trauma can impact the SI joints.


What are the Symptoms of SI Strain or trauma?

  • One-sided dull low back pain
  • Pain worsened with walking and/or sitting
  • Pain that radiates into the groin
  • Non-descript pain in the leg

What ARe Treatment Options for SI Dysfunction?

Our primary goal while treating sacroiliac joint conditions is balance and flexibility.  In mild to moderate cases, chiropractic care is effective at correcting the problem.  In extreme cases, it may be necessary to implement a Sacroiliac Belt.  SI belts are specifically designed to hold the joints together to facilitate healing.

How can i Avoid SI Damage?

The following recommendation will help promote a prompt healing response?

  • Avoid standing on one leg with your hip cocked to one side
  • Avoid bending more than 70 degrees
  • Avoid straddling anything, as in horseback riding
  • Do not cross your legs above the ankle
  • Avoid deep squats
  • Avoid sitting on one cheek; leaning to the side
  • Avoid the “Cleopatra” position; sitting sideways on a couch with your legs up.


Ensuring your SI joints are working properly promotes balance and flexibility which is all part of wellness.  We want to get you walking confidently and achieve all of your health goals. If you have been experiencing pain in your lower back that radiates down your leg and you thought it was sciatica, give us a call.  We would love to help you become pain free and achieve your goal of total body wellness.