Chiropractor Chandler AZ

Carson Robertson
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Sacroiliac Sprain Treatment with Cold Laser Treatment


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Sacroiliac sprains are very common in today's sedentary lifestyles. Sitting stretches and increases the strain across the joint and supporting muscles, tendons, and ligaments. We combine this with glute and pelvic weakness, which further increases the strain to this area during sitting, walking, and bending movements. Most people are unable to properly support and protect this area during twisting and bending motions, resulting in excessive strain to the sacroiliac and causing small sprains and strains.

Many times sacroiliac sprains will heal with home treatments of resting, icing, and stretching. Unfortunately, some people experience chronic sacroiliac sprains as a result of poor healing across the supporting soft tissue, leading to chronic injuries in their low back.

Anatomy of the Sacroiliac Joint


The sacroiliac joint is in your low back off to the side. People often feel a "nub" off the middle on their back along the beltline, which marks the top of the sacroiliac joint. The "nub" is a portion of the ilium bone. The ilium is on the side of the pelvis. The right and left ilium surround the sacrum, which is at the base of your spine. The two ilium and sacrum form the pelvis. The pelvis is a bony ring that protects the organs and transitions movement from the hip to the low back.

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For example, when sitting, your hip is flexed forward and your pelvis is tipped to allow you to sit comfortably. As you stand up, the muscles in your low back, hip, and leg contract to extend the hip. The sacroiliac extends backward with the movement and absorbs some of the stress. During the motion, your low back may shift forward and then straighten upwards. All of these complex movements provide shearing forces across the joints and the sacroiliac absorbs some of those. Increased stress is absorbed by the sacroiliac joint if twisting or turning is involved.

We did not even consider how long you were sitting. Sitting produces a shear force across the sacroiliac joint because it is resisting your body weight. The sacroiliac joint is constantly under stress. It could be from bending, squatting, twisting, climbing, or even sitting.

The joint is very unique because a portion of it is very fibrous, or has small ligaments. Those ligaments support the sacroiliac joint as it absorbs the forces with walking, sitting, running, climbing, standing, or twisting.

Chronic Sacroiliac Sprains and Scar Tissue


Scar tissue gradually forms with excessive and repetitive stress to the joint. Scar tissue changes how tendons and ligaments function, sitting, walking, and bending motions stretch the tissues and cause low back pain. This eventually leads to an area of weakness and a common source of chronic pain.

Many people with chronic sacroiliac (SI) sprains find themselves feeling better with occasional chiropractic, physical therapy, or massage therapy treatments to their low back and hip regions. These conservative treatments help maintain flexibility and motion, which helps alleviate some of the daily strain on the SI joint. Active Release Technique and Graston Technique are utilized to enhance healing and repair of the SI ligaments.

During acute flare ups these patients are experiencing sharp stabbing pain that feels like a knife or ice pick into the SI joint. Many times people describe a constant stiffness and all ache with frequent sharp stabbing pains when getting up from a seated position, twisting, or bending. Walking up or down steps can increase the dull and sharp pain in the low back and pelvis. Oftentimes chronic sacroiliac injuries are associated with hip or low back sprains, arthritis, or degenerative changes in the joints.

Treatments for SI Pain

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As previously mentioned, chiropractic therapy helps increase joint motion, mobility, and flexibility of the spine and pelvis. Exercises and stretches further enhance and protect the low back joints. When maintained, physical therapy activities reduce the likelihood of chronic sprains and strains. However most of us stop performing exercises when the pain disappears, until we experience the and next acute exacerbation of back pain.

Class IV cold laser is an excellent treatment for decreasing pain and inflammation. It utilizes specific wavelengths and frequencies of energy to shut off the inflammatory pathways. In addition, these wavelengths increase blood flow to the injured area to accelerate healing and repair. Increase blood flow means more nutrients are flowing to the area. The body uses the extra nutrients in its repair and regeneration process, enabling it to place more fibers across the injured joint to accelerate healing. The extra blood flow is also able to wash away more of the waste products produced with the repair and inflammatory processes.

Low level laser therapies are also excellent treatments for decreasing pain by blocking the signal sent from the pain receptors. Laser therapy decreases the inflammatory molecules that stimulate pain nerves. By having less of the inflammatory molecules floating around, it makes it less likely for the pain receptor to send signals to the brain. Many patients have felt this before when they stub their toe and produce a little swelling. The increased swelling makes any pressure applied to the toe feel like an intense pain. As the swelling and inflammation disappears, mild pressure is no longer perceived as painful.

How Lasers Help Low Back Pain

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During the repair and regeneration phase, cold lasers are great for increasing the amount of ATP produced in the cells. ATP is the energy source used by cells for all of its cellular activities, including repair and regeneration. Injured cells often have low levels of energy, which slows the healing mechanisms and prolongs the time to recovery. By increasing the amount of ATP present and decreasing injured cells, we are able to speed repair processes and shorten healing time.

Class IV cold lasers are able to penetrate deep in the tissues. Unlike class III cold lasers, which only have a depth penetration of 2 to 3 cm, the class IV K lasers can penetrate 8 to 10 cm into the body. This allows for the healing energy to reach deep inside the sacroiliac joint and supporting muscles and tendons.

Class IV K lasers are an excellent treatment modality to help decrease pain and inflammation in all muscle, tendon, and ligament injuries. Low-level lasers enhance the healing and repair processes to reduce the overall recovery time. When combined with traditional chiropractic, massage therapy, and physical therapy treatments, patients can experience more pain relief, better healing, and a shorter recovery process.