Bloomington / Normal, IL

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BACK PAIN: Set Back or Come Back?


By Drew Henneberg, DPT, Advanced Rehab & Sports Medicine

With summer coming to a close, fall is right around the corner. The return of the fall season brings with it a host of fun activities like bonfires, pumpkin patches, and hay rides. Along with the fun, the fall also brings leaf pickup, yardwork, and preparing our houses for winter. These activities can often times bring up sudden onsets of low back pain.

One of the most common misdiagnosed types of low back pain is sacroiliac dysfunction or SI dysfunction for short. SI dysfunction is characterized by pain in one or both joints at the rear of the pelvis. While these joints do not provide a great deal of motion, they are responsible for supporting the whole weight of the body and initiating the earliest parts of trunk bending and walking. SI dysfunction typically presents as pain at the posterior belt line and at times can produce symptoms down the posterior thigh to the knee or into the groin area. Often pain is worse when sitting and better with standing and walking. Most studies estimate 15–30 percent of back pain patients actually suffer from SI dysfunction and not the typical low back pain.

SI dysfunction can be differentiated from other common causes of low back pain by a licensed Physical Therapist. Through patient interview and physical examination, a therapist will determine where your pain is coming from and develop a plan to treat the condition.

Typical treatment for SI dysfunction will include a combination of manual therapy techniques and exercises to stabilize the pelvis. Manual therapy techniques can include stretching of the low back and hip musculature as well as muscle energy techniques and joint mobilization to re-align the pelvis. Exercises for SI dysfunction typically include hip strengthening with emphasis on the glutes and core stabilization.

SI dysfunction, as well as all low back pain, can be very debilitating. If you or someone you know is experiencing low back pain, medical intervention should be sought out. With the right combination of treatment from your doctor and physical therapy, you can nip SI dysfunction in the bud and truly enjoy the things we love about the fall season.

For more information about low back pain, or any type of pain, contact Advanced Rehab & Sports Medicine at 309-664-9104 or Their office is located at 135 N. Williamsburg Dr. in Bloomington. Free assessments are offered within 24 hours of contact for patients of all ages.