Hips out of alignment? (SI joint dysfunction and why you DON’T need a “Crack”)

If there is one imbalance in the body that we see the most often, it’s hands down someone’s hips (AKA pelvis) being out of alignment. And we often get this response:  “Do I need to see a Chiropractor to have them crack my hips back into alignment?”

I’m here to debunk this common ailment that is causing so much of the worlds low back pain. What I’m about to say might seem a bit radical. However, I say it after helping hundreds of people realign their hips without ever having to send them for a Chiropractic adjustment ….

Your Hips being out of alignment IS NOT the problem! It’s only a symptom of a problem elsewhere!

Why you DON’T need a chiropractic adjustment when your hips are out of alignment

Now before you get your guard up against me, I LOVE working with chiropractors. They bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise. They have different skill set that I think is very complimentary when combined with what we do as Athletic Therapists.

But, do I ship off every client whose hips are out of alignment for a chiropractic adjustment – absolutely not. I reserve that referral for other conditions when the skills of a chiropractor are needed. And Athletic Therapists have other ways of realigning your hips that don’t involve a forceful crack and that can give you more long lasting relief than an adjustment alone.


How can hips be out of alignment?

So before I spill the beans, some of you may be thinking “Lindsay, how can your hips be out of alignment?” or “What’s an SI joint?”. So let me back up for a moment.

The bottom of your spine ends with a bone called your “sacrum” and below that your coccyx or “tailbone” on either side of this is your hips bones AKA “ilium”. All of these bones together make up your pelvis.

If you look at the photo below you will notice the vertical joint between the sacrum and the ilium (hip bones). That joint is the “SI joint” (sacroiliac joint). If this joint isn’t able to move properly, it is called “SI joint dysfunction”. Following me so far?

The reason the joint can’t move properly is because something is twisted in one way or another. It could be the sacrum that’s not in proper alignment or it could be the ilium (hip bones).

Now here is where is feels tempting to think “Let’s just crack the hips back into alignment”. Easy Peasy. And yes, easy peasy indeed … until the problem comes back because you only addressed a symptom and not the real cause.


So what is the really causing your hips to be out of alignment?!

The pelvis as I have described above just sort of floats in the position it is put in. It is the muscles and other connective tissue all around the hips that keep it nice and stable and in perfect alignment.

So if the muscles are tight, overworking, under-working, irritated, inflamed, etc, they will pull the pelvis out of alignment.

Now this can get mighty complex if it’s say an old ankle injury causing you to walk a little funny. This can cause the hip to be unstable, the back muscles to be tight, and therefore the SI joint dysfunction. It’s our job as therapists to find out where this chain reaction starts and to resolve it once and for all!


How do we realign your hips without cracking it?

So glad you asked! Our therapists are highly trained. Not only is their schooling extensive but we continue to learn by taking additional courses. They have extensive knowledge in various techniques to address whatever it is causing the hips to go out of alignment. This might be gentle mobilization techniques which encourage the joint to move properly or massage techniques to help release a specific muscle. It might even include working on the fascia around the hips, the abdomen, or other structures elsewhere in the body.

Every treatment will be different because the reason your hips are out of alignment is unique to you!




Perhaps having your back cracked to realign your hips just isn’t working for you or maybe you prefer a more gentle approach that doesn’t involve a crack. If this is you, I encourage you to explore how an Athletic Therapist can help.

Click HERE to schedule a free Hip Pain Analysis appointment to develop a plan for long term relief.