So in my last post, I shared how my sacroiliac joint dysfunction started. Today, I will be sharing some of my early experiences regarding physical therapy.
So once it became clear that my SI pain wasn’t going away any time soon, and my PCP recommended physical therapy, I figured that it was time to try some PT. I went to physical therapy and found a younger physical therapist, who seemed quite competent. I told him my symptoms (how they started, what they felt like, etc) and he was actually THE ONE who first mentioned SI joint dysfunction to me. In his evaluation, he actually mentioned that my SI joint was fixated, or stuck (more on that later). He was confident that he could be able to mobilize the joint and get things moving again. I was optimistic and agreed to a trial run of physical therapy twice per week for 3-5 weeks.
Here’s the thing with physical therapy. It works for some people and doesn’t work for others. It’s often unclear who it will work for and who it won’t work for, so you have to just give a shot and see how things go.
Also, I definitely got worse before I got better. I remember leaving physical therapy those first two weeks in worse shape than when I went in! This didn’t seem right to me, but the therapist explained that the joints, muscles and nerves are being manipulated and some initial inflammation was normal. I stayed the course.
After about 3 weeks, I started to notice an improvement. It was amazing. I was able to walk without a limp, without pain and life was good again. I continued going to physical therapy for another week or so, just to make sure everything stayed okay. And it did – for a while!
When you go to physical therapy for sacroiliac joint dysfunction, one of the primary order of business is to strengthen the core. To get those core abdominal and back muscles strong and tight. That’s how PT is supposed to help SIJD. So by the time I graduated from physical therapy, my stomach was nice and strong. And I felt great. However, keep in mind that not all sufferers of SIJD will have a weak core, so in those populations, strengthening the core might not be suitable or beneficial at all. I’ll discuss some potential causes of SIJD in a future post.
Remember that my physical therapist mentioned that my SI Joint was stuck, and not in proper alignment. I should mention that there is some controversy over this topic in the medical community. Some medical experts don’t believe that the SI joint can be out of alignment. I actually visited an orthopedic physician during this ordeal and when I told him that the physical therapist pointed to my SI joint as being a pain generator, the ortho doc dismissed it, saying the SI ligaments are the strongest in the body… that they don’t rupture, tear, or loosen unless there is serious trauma (like a high-impact car accident).
However controversial the diagnosis, the mobilization of my stuck SI joint seemed helpful so I was one happy camper. I left physical therapy, ready to get back to my everyday routine. Taking care of the kids, running this blog, working on my physical fitness, and so on. All was great until I had my first big setback! Tune in tomorrow for the next installment in this series.
To see the next post in this series, and to see all posts in this category, please click here. If you’re dealing with SIJD, please share your experiences in the Comments section below.
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