The sacroiliac joints are the largest articulations of the spine and pelvis, and are also some of the most poorly leveraged. These joints are also the most unique in their make-up as well, being partly fibrous and partly synovial.
SI joints are long and thick and are responsible for a tremendous amount of leverage between the upper and lower body. Because of this, the tendency for these joints to become sprained at some point in one’s life is high.
Typically, an SI joint sprain is quite distinct in it’s characteristics as well as it’s presentation. It is also one of the most painful, considering the high amount of innervation of the SI ligaments. One of the most significant distinctions of an SI problem is it’s laterality. Since the SI joints are roughly about 1 1/2″ off center, when they sprain, the pain is localized to that side. This quite often distinguishes itself from most other spinal sprains or disc injuries. Additionally, SI joints may or may not refer pain into the leg but the location of the radiation is more lateral than in the back of the leg, and in most cases the pain will usually not go any further than the knee or calf. However, while these cases present with distinguishing symptoms, orthopedic and chiropractic testing will determine for sure which structures are damaged.
While these joints are heavily supported by ligaments, they also seem to favor chiropractic treatment simply because of the direct involvement chiropractic care has towards the joints. Adjustments are preferred over all other type of medical treatment and even studies have shown that response time is quicker and duration of symptoms is less while under chiropractic care (Harvard Medical Journal). Even with treatment, symptoms may still persist for 4-6 weeks and while under care, compliance is important in order to maximize results.