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Is Your Pelvis Causing Your Back, Knee, Hip, Neck or Foot Pain?

Posted Jun 06 2010 4:20am

Is Your Pelvis the Cause of Your Pain?

What happens with a man spends more time thinking about a triangle-shaped bone at the bottom of our back than a teenage boy spends thinking about sex?

The answer is, he discovers a remarkably simple solution to alleviate low back pain and quite possibly, a way to help lessen or completely eliminate other painful bone, muscle and ligament ailments.

Richard DonTigny has spent 40 plus years puzzling out the intricacies of our pelvic ring: the bones, ligaments and muscles that comprise our waist, buttocks and hips.

“Pelvis” is Latin for “basin,” which is what our pelvic ring resembles. In medical-speak the pelvic ring is made up of the hipbones and the sacrum (the triangle-shaped bone at the bottom of your back). The joint between the hipbone and the sacrum is the sacroiliac joint, and that is the linchpin of DonTigny’s work: it is where the secret to pain-relief lies.

DonTigny is a physical therapist who has published over 25 journal articles, written chapters for medical textbooks, lectured extensively, and treated over 8000 patients with sacroiliac joint problems. He is also the author of the Powerpoint CD, “Pelvic Dynamics for the Professional.”

In “Pelvic Dynamics for the Professional,” DonTigny explains how the sacroiliac joint (and the pelvic ring) is prone to becoming out of alignment, setting up a chain reaction of tension and strain on the surrounding muscles, ligaments and other soft-tissue structures. Dysfunction of the sacroiliac joint, DonTigny says, is responsible for at least 85% of low back complaints. Beside the back, he says that a malfunctioning or misaligned sacroiliac joint may also be the culprit in sciatica, piriformis syndrome, and knee, hip, pelvic, or stomach pain, and indirectly cause neck, shoulder or foot problems.

Just one detailed illustration from "Pelvic Dynamics"

DonTigny states: “In 1992 at the First World Congress on the Sacroiliac Joint Dr. Joseph Shaw of the Topeka Bank and Neck Pain Clinic reported that in a series of 1000 consecutive patients he examined for low back pain (LBP) and sacroiliac joint he found that 98% had an SIJ problem. When he addressed that problem, his surgical incidence for herniated disks dropped to 0.2%.”

Once one delves into DonTigny’s CD—a whooping 600 plus slides—you begin to understand how the pelvic ring is the linchpin of our skeleton. It supports our spine, allows us to walk and do other activities by serving as a powerful fulcrum for our body.

DonTigny shows that even small sacroiliac problems can have far-reaching effects on the body, even altering normal function of the feet.

For example, a misalignment of the pelvis can increase the inward curve of the low back (increase lordosis) while increasing the outward curve of our back at the level of our chest (kyphosis). These actions can cause our hips to rotate outward and our shoulders to hunch inward and lead to our head jutting forward (causing neck pain). Sacroilliac joint dysfunction can also cause a curve of our spine in the frontal plane (scoliosis) and ultimately create what appears to be a leg-length discrepancy (one leg longer than the other). Clearly, the sacroiliac joint is the keystone for good, healthy walking, standing and even sitting.

On his CD, DonTigny brilliantly dissects the complex inner details of sacroiliac joint and through his hundreds of beautifully illustrated slides, he makes understanding this complex joint easy.

The crowning jewel of DonTigny’s CD is a series of adjustments – The DonTigny Method – that a physical therapist (or a patient can do themselves) to properly realign the sacroiliac joint.

One has to wonder why DonTigny’s method is not known more widely and more accepted. Clearly, having a patient do some adjustments prior to seeing an orthopedic man for a back fusion is preferable. Part of the answer may lie in the fact that adjustments to solve back pain (and other bone and muscle problems), are so simple that individuals with a financial stake in back pain may feel their livelihood threatened.

Or perhaps, and much more likely, it may be difficult for those health practitioners who have spent their life doing sophisticated back surgeries, injections and/or a myriad of therapy modalities, to open their minds to such an easy solution.

Beyond the health practitioners, patients themselves still, for the most part, believe the medical system has all the answers. Until people begin thinking for themselves, begin asking questions–both to themselves and to their doctors, the system will feed them what it always has.

I am reminded of a great quote from the film The Matrix:

“The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”

On a personal note, I VIGOROUSLY applaud DonTigny for not only puzzling-out the mysteries of one our body’s most complex muscle-skeletal structures, but for having the COURAGE to put his theories into the public domain. Often, when someone proposes a new, revolutionary theory or solution—especially one that patients can do themselves—they will quickly experience the sharp pang of the medical community’s arrows in their back.

Final thoughts on DonTigny’s Pelvic Dynamics CD

If you are ready to open your mind to what is often the real cause of our muscle-skeletal problems, this CD is worth a look. Be aware: The sacroiliac joint is complicated and I found myself needing to re-read several of the slides, but the effort is worth it and again, the illustrations make understanding the sacroiliac joint much easier. I highly recommend Pelvic Dynamics for the Professional.

For more information on DonTigny’s work (or to purchase his CD), you should visit his site,  The Sacroiliac Joint .


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