Manual Manipulation Effective for Leg Pain due to SI Joint Dysfunction


Purpose: The sacroiliac joint (SIJ) may be a cause of sciatica. The aim of this study was to assess which treatment is successful for SIJ-related back and leg pain.

Methods: Using a single-blinded randomized trial, we assessed the short-term therapeutic efficacy of physiotherapy, manual therapy, and intra-articular injection with local corticosteroids in the SIJ in 51 patients with SIJ-related leg pain. The effect of the treatment was evaluated after 6 and 12 weeks.

Results: Of the 51 patients, 25 (56 %) were successfully treated. Physiotherapy was successful in 3 out of 15 patients (20 %), manual therapy in 13 of the 18 (72 %), and intra-articular injection in 9 of 18 (50 %) patients (p = 0.01). Manual therapy had a significantly better success rate than physiotherapy (p = 0.003).

Conclusion: In this small single-blinded prospective study, manual therapy appeared to be the choice of treatment for patients with SIJ-related leg pain. A second choice of treatment to be considered is an intra-articular injection.