Tag Archives: SI joint


Our Symptom of the Week this week.

Many people have sciatica, you may have heard someone say, “my sciatica is acting up.”  Sciatica is actually a description of the symptoms experienced when the sciatic nerve or it’s roots become irritated.

Sciatic NerveIt is a group of sciatic pain syndromes.  Sciatica is kind of the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome of the lower limbs.  The tingling, numbness or pain can go from your low back all the way down the leg, or it can be fairly mild and just be in your back.

Your sciatic nerve is actually a large bundle of nerves from your low back that travels through your pelvis, out through the sciatic notch and between the piriformis muscle and the other deep hip rotating muscles.  When this nerve bundle becomes irritated or “pinched” pain ensues and can be present any where the nerve goes.

Sciatic Pain

Sciatic Pain

The actual diagnosis of Sciatica would mean that the nerves are “pinched’ at the nerve root specifically due to a spinal condition.  Degeneration, disc herniation, joint dysfunction, inflammation, etc. may cause this.  However the nerve can be “pinched” in places other than the spine.  Though they are technically termed pseudo sciatica there is nothing pseudo about the pain.  The only real difference is where the nerve gets irritated.

Piriformis Syndrome can cause similar symptoms to sciatica because the same kind of thing is happening.  The sciatic nerve travels through the muscles, if they are abnormally tight then the nerve can become “pinched” and cause sciatica.

Sacroiliac Joint Pain is another diagnosis that can cause pain similar to sciatica.  Though the nerve does not actually pass through the sacroiliac (SI) joint it does travel close enough that problems in this area may affect the nerve.  Problems in the SI joint its self can also cause symptoms that mimic sciatica in that there can be pain all the way down the leg.

The cause of your sciatic pain is very important because it dictates how it should be treated.  Your chiropractor is trained to correctly diagnose and treat the causes of these painful syndromes.  Many treatments may be effectively utilized by your chiropractor, from manipulation to decompression to physiotherapy and exercises.  You can do many things at home to help to.

Piriformis Stretch

Piriformis Stretch

Piriformis stretches are useful, and even if the symptoms are not due to your piriformis it may be tight and adding to the problem.  Talk to your chiropractor if you are having sciatica.

What Is The “Leg Check?”

When people come to a chiropractor to have their back treated, they sometimes find it odd when I go to their feet and measure their legs. The question for this blog was “why do you do that?”

Image From Foot Levelers

When your spine and Sacroiliac Joints (SI joints – they connect your pelvis to your spine) are not functioning properly the muscles will “lock down” in an effort to in effect splint the injured area. This causes bones to be “pulled out of place.” Essentially when one side of your pelvis is being pulled tighter/higher than the other you will have a functionally long leg. Some people have one leg longer than the other anatomically, but this is a different story. When I measure your legs I am looking for confirmation of which side is “out of whack.” I am really just determining which way to adjust your SI joints. Often I will check them again after the treatment to see if the procedure was effective at treating that particular symptom.

When your legs are uneven whether it is functional or anatomical it is like always walking on an uneven surface, and can cause problems elsewhere in the body. Chiropractors treat anatomical leg length problems with heel lifts. You may have heard of Foot Levelers. Functional long legs we treat with adjustments and muscle retraining.

So…That’s why I look at your feet when you come into my office. If you are curious about your leg length set up an appointment with me or your local chiropractor.

Remember if you have other questions feel free to leave a comment. I will be happy to answer it as soon as I am able.