Sacroiliac joint exercise and movement may help you with a temporary reset. I’ve found from personal experience, though, that a long term movement treatment approach that seeks to restore muscle balance is needed to finally get this beast of a problem solved. Meanwhile, you might want to check out my routine. 

Many Possible SI Joint Treatments

As with many medical problems, businesses in the health space have been quick to come up with treatments for SI joint pain. Things like fusion surgery, drugs and other high tech “solutions,”  are developed as purported answers to the demand for SI pain relief. These fixes may have research behind them, but this fact, by no means, guarantees such SI treatments are safe, effective or even the best possible way you can get past a loose or painful sacroiliac joint.

In truth, resolving SI pain varies by individual. While the market abounds with things for you to try for yours, I, myself,  like to go down the holistic route whenever possible. This necessarily involves sacroiliac exercises and movement. Later in this post, I’ve given a short routine that may help you temporarily reset the joint, but to really get to the bottom of this kind of problem, you’ve first got to take into consideration the complex nature of the SI joint.

The  SI Joint. It’s Complicated

For example, it’s supposed to fit in between your two hip bones, where it acts like a wedge. The entire shape of it is like a kidney bean with the top is wider than the bottom. It fits between the hips with an interlocking mechanism, yet it has a lot of ligaments that hold it together. The sacroiliac joint provides one type of movement in front and another in back.

The list of unique features goes on from there, but suffice it to say, this joint can go out in a number of ways.

The sacroiliac joint can go out in a number of ways. In fact, the cause of an SI incident often defies textbook learning. In fact, even very subtle moves in the body can pull the joint out of alignment and into painful dysfunction. This is especially true when – due to routine posture and movement habits, injuries that haven’t fully healed, the effects of stress or unresolved emotions, or other lifestyle factors – you’ve got chronically imbalanced trunk and core muscles.

Sacroiliac JointAnd unlike most other joints in the body, the SI has only a small amount of direct support from muscles that cross between the two bones that comprise the joint. (In this case, we’re talking sacrum and ilium. The ilium is your hip bone.)  No wonder keeping the SI properly aligned can be a daunting task! 

To get past SI instability, you’ll likely have to do the type of movement work that balances all the muscle groups located in and around the pelvic, hip and back area. Learning about and achieving good body alignment is critical to this process.

So is finding the right movement sequence(s) for you. Check out the below short sacroiliac joint exercise routine.

Sacroiliac Joint Exercises for a Temporary Reset

Again, while establishing good body alignment is critical, there are a few moves known for rescuing an SI in immediate distress.

Here is one common movement mini-program that may help relieve pain when your SI is acting up. While I can’t guarantee it will fix your pain, if you work gently and moderately,  and commit to not working through pain, it may be worth a try.

Note that it’s best to do following in conjunction with a basic hip and core program, such as the gentle Pain Release Program discussed in the above graphic box.

With SI, there’s usually asymmetry involved, meaning that some of the below movements may work better for you than others. Again, because the joint is so complicated, this will vary by individual.

Easy Warm Up – Double Knees to Chest

Often, we get pain simply because our soft tissue is tight and/or weak – usually a combination of the two. So before you try to tackle your SI alignment, how about warming up the muscles in the general area?

The double knees to chest is perfect for that. For most people, it’s one of the safest and easiest moves to do.

As you warm up with the double knees to chest stretch, pay attention to the sensations at the back of the pelvis, around your hip joints and in the lower back area. This awareness will provide a “barometer” for safe work as you proceed.

Here’s how:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Bring one knee up to your chest and grasp the front of the shin with one hand.
  3. Repeat with the other leg.
    • You may find that it’s painful for you to lift one of the legs but not the other.
      • The goal is to work pain free, but if that’s not possible, stop.
      • One-sided SI pain may be a sign that a visit to a physical therapist or chiropractor is in order.
  4. If you’re doing okay, then gently pull both knees to your chest for 5 – 30 seconds, according to tolerance. Keep breathing!
  5. Gently release the pull on your legs.
  6. Return to the start position by slowly lowering one leg, then the other. Start with the easier, non-painful leg, and very gently follow with the other.

Reset Your SI Joint

Many holistic therapists, chiropractors and PTs teach this sacroiliac joint exercise to their patients or clients, in hopes that it will allow the bones to move naturally into their correct positions. This move can be effective, but as I mentioned earlier, relief varies by individual. So try it and see. Don’t be too aggressive, though – especially the first couple of times while you’re figuring out if this a good move for you.

Here’s how:

You’ll need an elastic band or yoga strap, plus a small-medium sized inflatable ball.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Put the ball between your knees.
  3. Put the band or strap snugly around your thighs, about mid-thigh or just a bit higher.
  4. Inhale, exhale, and squeeze the ball.
  5. Inhale, and press your thighs against the band or strap.
  6. Repeat Steps 4 & 5 ten times.

SI Reset Pointer

  • Really engage your inner thigh muscles when you squeeze the ball, and your outer thigh muscles when you press against the strap or belt.

Stabilize your Sacroiliac Joint with the Glute Bridge Exercise

The 3rd and final move, which is the glute bridge, is an effective way to preserve the good work you did in the other two exercises. This is because it builds muscles that help stabilize the SI joint, namely the lower glutes and also their helpers, the hamstrings.

Here’s how:

  1. Begin lying on your back with your legs bent, feet resting on the floor.
  2. Engage your lower abdominal muscles.
  3. Press your feet into the floor to lift your hips up into the air.
  4. Hold for 5-30 seconds. Keep breathing, and keep your lower abs engaged.
  5. Throughout the hold, keep your hips level. Don’t let one side dip lower than the other.

Glute Bridge Pointers

  • Try to keep your shoulders wide and relaxed.
  • Keep the work in your hamstrings and lower glute muscles by aiming your pelvis into the same direction as your knees. This will result in a pretty small move, so don’t expect an obvious change in position. You’ll probably have to sacrifice some hip height to accomplish this Pointer, but that’s okay.
    • Going high is not as important as staying in good alignment and feeling it in your hamstrings and lower gluteal muscles.

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