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A Closer Look into the Association between the Sacroiliac Joint and Low Back Pain


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Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment

Spartan Med Res J. 2021 Apr 13;6(1):21971.


Ashley Wieczorek, Erin Campau, Elizabeth Pionk, Molly E Gabriel-Champine, Carlos F Ríos-Bedoya


Introduction: Low back pain is the most common type of global disability and annually costs the United States over two billion dollars. Opioids have been used to reduce low back pain, although current evidence concerning efficacy is lacking. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SIJD) is estimated to be a primary pain source of low back pain in between 10 and 25% of affected patients. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the rate of SIJD identified through osteopathic techniques in a convenience sample of patients seeking low back pain treatment. The secondary objective was to assess prevalence of low back pain and SIJD among different age groups, and genders.

Methods: Retrospective chart reviews were completed the adult patients who had received osteopathic manipulative treatment for low back pain at Family Health and Wellness Center in Essexville, MI from January 2018 through June 2019. The prevalence of patients with SIJD was identified during reviews of osteopathic procedural documentation for patients seeking low back pain treatment. Data regarding patients' age, sex, and treatment modalities were also extracted. Descriptive statistics consisting of frequencies and percentages were calculated.

Results: A total of 84 patient records were reviewed. A total of 51 (60.7%) patients seeking low back pain treatment were diagnosed with SIJD identified by osteopathic providers. This included patients with both lumbar and sacral diagnoses simultaneously. SIJD alone accounted for 26 (31%) of patients seeking treatment. Female patients were more likely to have SIJD involvement than males. Forty one (48.8%) treated patients were between 45-64 years old. Muscle Energy Technique was documented to be the most used for 68 (81%) patients. In addition, techniques tended to move from direct to indirect for older patients.

Discussion: Our study demonstrated that SIJD appeared to contribute to low back pain in 51 (60.7%) of low back pain cases identified using osteopathic techniques. This is much greater than the previously reported percentages of 10 to 25%. One possible confounding influence included varied resident screening and reporting of sacral dysfunction. Since multiple areas of the body can be treated at one time, our current procedure notes did not allow for distinguishing between which types of modalities were used on each region or capture residents' preferred treatments.

Conclusions: Although further studies are needed, our results suggest that knowledge of SIJD's impact on low back pain could lead to improved patient outcomes such as decreased medical costs and opioid use.

Publication Date: 

2021 Apr



Wieczorek, A., Campau, E., Pionk, E., Gabriel-champine, EM., Ríos-bedoya, FC. (2021) 'A Closer Look into the Association between the Sacroiliac Joint and Low Back Pain ', Spartan Med Res J. 2021 Apr 13;6(1):21971.

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