How Chiropractic Adjustments can Help Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Pain in Los Gatos

The sacroiliac joint (or SI Joint) is one of the most common sources of low back pain. However, the SI joint is many times overlooked as the cause. So many people suffer from lower back pain, which is now the leading cause of disability in the world.

Your SI joint pain might keep you away from your favorite California activities or may be so severe that you can no longer work. Either way, chiropractic adjustments are a safe and research-tested way to start feeling better¹.

Every Positive Motion Heath Patient will receive

✅ A full diagnostic review.

✅ An individualized treatment plan.

Research-based guidance to relieve pain.


Contact us today if you are ready to get relief from your SI joint pain. We serve patients from around the United States in our San Francisco Bay Area office in Los Gatos, California.

Is the SI Joint causing your pain?

The sacroiliac joint connects the three bones of the pelvis (ilium and sacrum) to the lumbar spine and the hip bones. Ligaments hold the SI joints together. The sacroiliac joints should move about 3-5% degrees with each step. The bony joints support the weight of the body when standing.

When the SI joint is stuck (like a rusted hinge), the alternate side is forced to move extra, often becoming hypermobile. This causes swelling, inflammation, and pain. The muscles around your spine and pelvis start to spasm to limit your motion. When one of these muscles, the piriformis, spasms it can pinch your sciatic nerve. If the sciatic nerve is pinched it can lead to pain in the hip, buttock, and/or back of the leg.

What is the Difference Between SI Joint Fixation and SI Joint Instability?

Many times people suffering with low back pain or hip pain will see a chiropractor or physical therapist. They might undergo many treatments to their back and SI joints and not have any lasting benefit. When this happens it is important to understand the difference between a stuck joint and a loose joint.

The SI joint is held together primarily by ligaments. These ligaments can become problematically stretched by overuse, injuries from a car accident, or a fall onto your hip or buttock. Additionally, some people have more flexible, loose ligaments because of their genetic makeup.

A stuck or fixated SI joint can be rotated either posteriorly or anteriorly at the ilium. The fixation can be at one or both sacroiliac joints. An SI joint fixation can be acutely painful and usually responds quickly and favorably to getting a side-posture manual chiropractic adjustment. In a fixated sacroiliac joint, the ligaments are not damaged, and they are holding the SI joints together properly.

However, when the ligaments around the sacroiliac joints are overstretched, then the joint itself becomes hypermobile. This SI joint instability is many times not assessed during evaluation by doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors. And the treatment of SI joint instability is vastly different from the treatment for SI joint fixation, as we discuss below.

How is SI Joint Instability Treated?

After proper examination reveals SI joint instability it is critical that the treatment fit the diagnosis. An SI joint that is unstable requires completely different care than a joint that is stuck or fixated. In fact, chiropractic adjustments that might work well for a stuck or fixated SI joint can flare low back pain or hip region pain in a patient with SI joint instability. Drop table chiropractic adjustments or Activator Technique adjustments are preferred when adjusting patients with SI joint instability.

With SI joint instability the use of a SI belt, or trochanteric belt, like the Serola Sacroiliac Belt helps to stabilize the joint. A SI belt can also allow the ligaments to start to heal so that they can provide stability to the pelvis again. Many times patients suffering with SI joint instability will notice an immediate decrease in their pain when properly wearing a SI belt.

It is important that a person experiencing SI joint instability avoid activities that shear the sacroiliac joint. An example of shearing is something like forward splits or a lunge exercise. This type of activity where one leg comes forward while the other goes backwards puts stress on the SI ligaments and the SI joint itself. Shearing the SI joint when someone has SI joint instability can lead to back pain, hip pain, and difficulty sleeping due to pain.

If you are experiencing the following symptoms, your SI joint may be to blame:

  • Chronic low back pain and stiffness
  • Hip pain or low hip mobility
  • Buttock pain
  • Discomfort lying on your stomach or sleeping
  • Difficulty sitting, especially on for prolonged periods
  • Aching in your leg, especially when walking
  • Difficulty bending over or climbing stairs

SI Joint Pain Treatment Options

Every patient is unique, so we run complete diagnostic tests to understand the source of your pain. Through our examination, we are able to determine if your SI joints are fixated or hypermobile (SI joint instability). We also work to rule out underlying conditions like inflammatory arthritis, such as ankylosing spondylitis, that can lead to SI joint pain and longer-term issues, such as SI joint fusion.This comprehensive approach helps our team know which treatments will help you get back to the activities you love.

Your treatment may include

  • Chiropractic Adjustments: Chiropractic adjustments are clinically proven to be one of the safest and fastest ways to treat chronic low-back pain. This targeted approach can address SI Joint Dysfunction in just a few office visits. We are trained in a variety of chiropractic adjusting styles, including Thompson Drop Technique, Activator Methods, manual manipulation, and Applied Kinesiology.
  • Kinesiotape: KT tape helps provide stability, reduces inflammation, and cues muscles and joints for postural improvement and awareness.
  • Massage Therapy: Massage and myofascial release can help to reduce pain and tension in the tissue that connects your muscles. We are trained in the Graston technique (IASTM) and Fascial Distortion Model (FDM), amongst other techniques.
  • Physiotherapy: Customized exercises and stretches can help strengthen the muscles, maintain mobility and balance, and develop strong ligaments to support your SI joint.
  • Bracing and Supports: When indicated, an SI belt is critical in getting lasting SI joint pain relief. Additionally, we check each patients feet using a 3D laser scanner to see if imbalances in the arches could be causing an ascending biomechanical problem.
  • Cold Laser Therapy (LLLT): Low-Level Laser Therapy is utilized to speed up the healing rate of tissues, reduce inflammation, and has FDA clearance to help with chronic pain.

Our focus on accurate diagnosis and individualized care plans is why we can get fast and lasting results for our patients.

If you aren’t seeing improvement from chiropractic or physical therapy you may have SI joint instability? Watch a video explanation.


If you are ready to get pain relief for your SI joint, contact us today. We serve patients from around the USA in our San Francisco Bay Area clinic located in Los Gatos, California.

About Dr. Brant and Positive Motion Health

We know you love having an active lifestyle. We want to get you back to doing the things you love with supportive chiropractic care.

Dr. Brant Pedersen has always been an athlete. When he is not treating patients, he can be found surfing in Santa Cruz, biking, or enjoying the slopes in Tahoe with his family.

Dr. Pedersen received his undergraduate pre-medical degree at UCSC. He completed his formal chiropractic training at Palmer College of Chiropractic West in San Jose, California where he graduated valedictorian of his class. Dr. Pedersen specializes in sports injuries. He completed his post-doctoral program to become board-certified as a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP) in 2008. He has done sports medicine rotations at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Positive Motion Health is committed to providing chiropractic solutions to address your unique needs. Our team will give you a full evaluation and customize a care plan for you and your health goals. If you are ready to get pain relief, schedule an appointment today.


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Read the Medical Research

Medical researchers have released many studies on chronic low back pain because it is so widespread. Because of where the SI joints are located, this pain is disruptive to everyday life. Chiropractic adjustments are consistently recommended as a safe and effective course of treatment. 

The Effect of Sacroiliac Chiropractic Adjustments on Innominate Angles (The Journal of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences)

Systematic Review of SI Join Pain (The Journal of Physical Therapy Science Medical Journal)


Contact us today if you are ready to get relief from your SI joint pain. We serve patients from around the USA in our San Francisco Bay Area clinic located in Los Gatos, California.