The three SOT categories explained

In this article, we explore the SOT (Sacral Occipital Technique) category system, a key method in chiropractic care for analysing and treating spinal issues. 

Discover the nuances of the three SOT categories, each addressing different aspects of spinal health and providing a roadmap for effective treatment.

What is the SOT category system?

The SOT (Sacral Occipital Technique) category system is a method chiropractors use to analyse and treat spinal issues, known as subluxations. 

This system categorises spinal problems into three types based on how the body adjusts or compensates for these issues. Each category guides the chiropractor in choosing the most effective treatment. 

This explanation will cover the three SOT categories: Category One, focusing on the sacroiliac joints and sacrum movement; Category Two, involving sacroiliac joint issues and pelvic weigh-bearing instability; and Category Three, related to spinal disc problems and nerve irritation.

SOT Category One

If the sacroiliac joints in your pelvis misalign or become rigid, it restricts the sacrum’s movement (the spine’s lowest part), possibly causing low back pain. 

The movement relationship between the sacrum and the occiput (base of the skull) is crucial. It creates a pumping action that circulates cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), vital for nourishing the nervous system and removing waste. 

Abnormal motion at the sacrum and occiput can disrupt CSF flow. Category one symptoms stemming from altered nerve function may vary due to waste buildup and insufficient nutrients in the nervous system.

SOT Category Two

This involves a sacroiliac joint (pelvis joints) issue and may develop from an untreated Category One. Essentially, it’s a sprain of the ligaments stabilising the sacroiliac joint, leading to excessive joint movement (hypermobility). 

The sacroiliac joint bears most of the skeletal system’s weight. A hypermobile sacroiliac joint causes pelvic weight-bearing instability. 

This imbalance challenges your body’s equilibrium, potentially impacting major joints, including the lower back, neck, shoulders, and even the jaw and cranial (skull) system.

SOT Category Three

This may evolve from a Category Two condition. Discs between the spine’s vertebrae act as shock absorbers. 

These discs might fail under load, either due to an unbalanced body from an unstable pelvis or a one-time event like a fall or twisting motion. 

When spinal joint shock absorption is compromised, the nerves exiting the spine or the spinal cord within become more susceptible to irritation from either traction or compression. This can result in lower back pain, leg pain (sciatica), or arm pain.

Conclusion: The three SOT categories explained

In conclusion, the SOT category system offers a structured and insightful approach to diagnosing and treating pelvic and spinal subluxations. 

Understanding the distinct aspects of each category – from sacroiliac joint dysfunction to pelvic weight-bearing instability and disc-related nerve irritation – is crucial for effective chiropractic care. 

This system not only aids chiropractors in tailoring treatments but also helps patients comprehend the complexities of their spinal health issues.

Clare Cullen

Monday to Thursday


Sunday & Holidays


Ewell Chiropractic
9A Cheam Road, Ewell, Epsom KT17 1SP

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Our practice is next to the central car park in the Ewell village if you travel by car. And just a 10-minute wander from both train stations in Ewell.

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