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5 Strengthening Exercises for Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Pain

5 Strengthening Exercises for Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Pain

If you’ve ever felt pain in your back when standing up from a seated position, you’ve likely experienced sacroiliac joint pain. The good news is that strengthening the muscles that provide support to the SI joints and pelvis can often help to relieve your discomfort and get you back to enjoying your normal activities quickly.

What Is the SI Joint?

Your body consists of two sacroiliac joints (SI joints) that sit on either side of your spine, where your sacrum and ilium meet. Your sacrum is the triangular shaped bone that sits close to the bottom of your spine, and your ilium is one of the three bones that make up your hip bones. The main functions of your SI joints include supporting the weight of your torso when you stand or walk and shifting the load to your legs, and reducing pressure on your spine.

Causes of SI joint Pain

Inflammation of the SI joint is commonly referred to as sacroiliitis and may be caused by SI joint dysfunction. Various conditions can lead to SI joint pain, including:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pregnancy
  • Gout
  • Injury
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Abnormal gait patterns

Symptoms of SI Joint Pain

Symptoms of SI joint pain vary among individuals and may include:

  • Lower back pain, below the level of L5
  • Pain when moving from a sitting to standing position
  • Numbness, tingling, weakness, and/or pain in the lower extremity
  • Hip and/or groin pain
  • A feeling of leg instability
  • Disturbed sleep due to pain
  • Difficulty sitting for prolonged periods of time

Strengthening Exercises for SI Joint Pain

While not all cases of SI joint pain can be treated with strengthening exercises, in many cases strengthening exercises can help to relieve SI joint and lower back pain, and can even help to prevent future SI joint pain from occurring.

  • Hip Extension Exercise

  • Begin standing up straight and, if needed, hold on to a wall or table for balance
  • Keep your left leg straight and squeeze your buttocks and extend your right leg behind your body
  • Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds
  • Slowly return to the starting position
  • Alternate sides
  • Aim for 10 repetitions of this exercise on each side
  • Bridge Exercise

  • Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet placed flat on the floor with your arms positioned beside your upper body
  • Push your heels into the floor, tighten your gluteal and abdominal muscles, and slightly lift your pelvis off of the floor
  • Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds
  • Slowly return to the starting position
  • Aim for 10 repetitions of this exercise
  • Bird Dog Exercise

  • Begin on your hands and knees on the floor
  • Slowly raise your right arm and reach forward until it is inline with your torso, and at the same time extend your left leg backward until it is in line with your torso
  • Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds
  • Slowly return to the starting position
  • Repeat on the opposite side
  • Aim for 10 repetitions of this exercise on each side
  • Supermans

  • Begin lying on your stomach on the floor
  • Extend both of your arms straight above your head
  • Slowly raise both your arms and legs off the floor
  • Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds
  • Slowly return to the starting position
  • Aim for 10 repetitions of this exercise
  • Lunge

  • Begin standing with both of your feet together
  • Step forward, about 2 feet, with your left foot
  • Bend both of your knees to lower yourself toward the ground, ensuring that your back remains straight
  • Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds
  • Slowly return to the starting position
  • Alternate sides
  • Aim for 10 repetitions of this exercise on each side

Conclusion

SI joint pain can sometimes mimic other musculoskeletal conditions including disc herniation and hip problems. If you try the stretches mentioned in this article and continue to experience discomfort, an assessment with one of the physical therapists at Blue Hills Sports & Spine Rehabilitation can accurately assess and diagnose your condition, and determine the best course of care to help minimize your discomfort.

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