Dry needling for SI joint pain can be an effective treatment for this condition and is best used in combination with other passive therapies like joint manipulation and active therapies like stretches and corrective exercises. This content will explain how dry needling can help SI joint pain and dysfunction, when it can’t, and where you should start if you’re interested in this treatment.
How Dry Needling For SI Joint Pain Can Help
Whenever dry needling is used as a treatment, whether it’s dry needling for SI joint pain or not, there are two main goals.
- Decrease pain – This is what’s typically motivating you to seek treatment. Pain in the SI joint typically means there’s dysfunction of the SI joint, the lumbar facet joints, muscles around the SI joint, or a combination of these structures.
- Improve function – Allow you to get back to your activities of daily living without discomfort. Our goal is always to get you 100% back to your normal life and being active again.
If you’re having SI joint pain there may be a component that’s either causing pain or changing the mechanics of the area called a myofascial trigger point. Myofascial trigger points are taut bands of muscle fibers that can cause pain and affect the normal action of the muscle. They’re commonly referred to as muscle “knots.”
The purpose of dry needling treatment is to stimulate the trigger point and sort of “inactivate” it. Dry needling the trigger point will reduce and release tension as well as decrease pain. Using dry needling for SI joint pain can often accomplish this quickly and where other treatments may have failed.
By releasing this muscle tension in a dysfunctional unit of muscle, it allows the muscle to contract and relax as normal muscle fibers should. Along with stretches and corrective exercises and possibly other therapies like joint manipulation we can improve function. This means getting back to activities of daily living or exercising and training without discomfort.
See some dry needling videos and other videos from our Cary NC chiropractic office at our Youtube channel below.
When Dry Needling Isn’t The Right Treatment For Your SI Joint Pain…
Google diagnosing is cheap and you can do it from the comfort of your own home, but trust me, it produces anxiety and stress the deeper you dig. You’ll probably end up deciding your SI joint pain is from something rare and terrible. It happens all the time, and I think it’s probably human nature. Just don’t go down that road.
Dry needling for SI joint pain is an excellent treatment in most common cases, but it’s not always the best treatment in certain instances. A good way to find out if it’s right for you is to see an experienced chiropractor and have them examine it. I do this every day, as SI joint discomfort is really common and one of the top reasons patients present to a chiropractor’s office. I’ll explain some of the situations below where dry needling is not the best treatment:
- Inflammatory or non-osteoarthritis – Inflammatory arthritis often attacks the SI joints first causing erosion of one or more of the joints. The primary treatment for this situation is typically a biologic medication prescribed by a rheumatologist. Humira is an example of a biologic drug.
- Primary or metastatic cancers of lytic or blastic nature – The pelvis can be a hot spot for bone cancers. Obviously, if you have one of these dry needling is not the right treatment. An oncologist is going to be the right provider to see in these cases. The vast majority of SI joint pain is not cancer, so don’t get too concerned about this until you’ve been examined by a healthcare provider.
- Joint infection – Believe it or not joints can get infected too. Dry needling is absolutely not a good treatment in these cases as it may risk spreading the infection. A chiropractor is not the right doctor to see if you have a joint infection, although a chiropractor can refer you to the right provider if he or she suspects a joint infection.
Before you start worrying, understand that these are RARE cases. I’ve seen a handful of cases of the first situation, one case of the second situation, and no joint infections in my practice. The purpose of this list is primarily to let you know when you shouldn’t seek dry needling.
Ultimately, you need to a see a physical medicine practitioner with dry needling treatment and it’s even better if he or she has joint manipulation skills. The majority of these practitioners are doctors of chiropractic, but some are also physical therapists or Doctors of Osteopathy. It doesn’t necessarily matter what their degree is, but more important that they have experience in examining SI joint pain diagnosing it, and treating it.
If you’re interested in how dry needling can help with pain and injuries in other areas, see our other posts here –> Dry Needling Blog Posts
Want some more information on dry needling for pain? See this research here that looks into the topic in-depth
Dr. Jason Williams DC is a chiropractic physician practicing at AccessHealth Chiropractic in Cary, NC. He treats neuromusculoskeletal pain and injuries using chiropractic manipulation, dry needling, acupuncture, rehab exercise strategies, and other supportive therapies. Primary areas of focus include back pain, neck pain, muscular pain, extremity pain, and orthopedic injuries. Dr. Williams is experienced in treating athletes, especially those in the CrossFit, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and MMA community.
If you’re interested in whether he or another AccessHealth provider can help you, navigate to our contact page or follow this link to request an appointment.