Comparison Between Strain-counterstrain and Muscle Energy Technique in Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

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    Cairo University
Updated on 28 January 2021


Examine the effect of strain-counter strain (SCS) versus muscle energy technique (MET) on pain pressure threshold (PPT), functional disability, and the innominate angle tilt with SIJ dysfunction.


Sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SIJD) can be cured with medical and physical therapy interventions. Standard physical therapy techniques include manual joint mobilization, manipulation, bracing, massage, patient education, aerobic training, general exercise, and electrotherapies such as heat, ultrasound, and transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation(TENS). In the physiotherapy context, an effective treatment strategy for unappreciated SIJD is needed. Currently, there are no guidelines or appropriate management plans for this dysfunction, physicians usually refer to it as low back pain alone, and physiotherapists treat the pain as low back pain (LBP). However, appropriate medical intervention or physical therapy may be carried out if the diagnosis is accurate. Furthermore, only a few studies tried to compare the effects of the various treatment approaches.

Strain-counterstain (SCS) consider an excellent choice for building patient thrust as the patient is held passively in a pain-free position. SCS can facilitate treatment for the patient who has experienced pain during a treatment session by using other manual therapy techniques such as manipulation and MET or specific core stability exercises to enhance force closure of SIJ.

SCS allows normalization of the tone of tight muscles involved in SIJ dysfunction which allows a significant improvement in recruitment of weak muscles, especially the gluteal group. SCS has shown its effectiveness in reducing pain or palpation tenderness over different musculoskeletal disorders such as acute/ chronic LBP, mechanical neck pain, and masseter trigger points.

SCS affects local circulations which lead to more nutrient supply, metabolic waste removal, and reverse ischemia that can manifest as painful tender points (TPs) or sustain dysfunction. Current literature lacks consensus on mechanisms, contributing factors, and treatment of SIJ dysfunction.

MET was advocated for the treatment of muscle imbalances in the lumbopelvic region, such as pelvic asymmetry. The theory behind MET assumes that the technique is used to correct asymmetry by targeting hamstring or hip flexor contractions on the painful side of the lower back and move the innominate in the proper direction. It is important to note, however, that evidence indicates that non-symptomatic individuals have also been shown to have pelvic asymmetries.

While manual therapy is a helpful tool for LBP care, few studies have focused on the efficacy of SIJD. There is limited evidence concerning the efficacy of SCS and MET in SIJ dysfunction. According to investigators' knowledge, there is no study to investigate the effectiveness of SCS on SIJ dysfunction patients in comparison to muscle energy technique.

Condition Sacroiliac Joint Somatic Dysfunction
Treatment Muscle Energy Technique, Strain-Counterstrain
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04717401
SponsorCairo University
Last Modified on28 January 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Male and female patients aged from 20 years to 60 years
Positive Fortin's sign (pain around PSIS and sacral sulcus)
Positive three posterior provocation tests of four including Thigh thrust test, Compression test, Distraction Test, and Patrick test
Pain in lower back below level L5 vertebra and buttocks
Self-reported disability due to SIJ pain on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores at least 30%

Exclusion Criteria

Acute injury or fracture of the lower limb and spine
Systemic diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis (R.A) or ankylosing spondylitis
Previous major lumbar or hip surgery
Pregnancy or delivery for less than 6 months ago
Lumbar stenosis or spondylolisthesis or disc disease
Congenital spinal deformity
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