I have struggled with SI joint pain for many years, and short of an orthopedist, I have been to all kinds of healthcare professionals – physical medicine and rehab doctors, sports medicine doctors, osteopathic doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, acupuncturists, massage therapists – you name it. Needless to say, my pain is chronic now, but I have come to figure out how to keep the pain in check, without medication.
Sacroiliac joint (aka SI joint) is the tiny joint that connects your pelvic bone to your spine with its main job to support the upper body. SI joint pain is a common cause of low back pain, and chronic pain. Almost all adults in the US will experience low back pain at least once in their life, and estimated 1/5 to 1/3 of those cases are caused by SI joint pain. People with SI joint pain usually have worsening pain with twisting or rotating motions. They often find that their pain gets better when they engage their abdominal muscles, which helps stabilize the pelvis. Standing up from a seated position or sitting up from a lying position is hard. Asymmetry in the pelvis from posture or scoliosis is one example. Personally I have both, and a fall a few years ago put me over the edge. A few other factors can worse SI joint pain – one is lack of flexibility, and increased tension in the surrounding muscles, and decreased stability of the muscles that keep the pelvis stable.
Treatments for SI joint pain can include anything from exercises, to massage, to oral pain medication to injectables. I am not one to shy away from these treatments for those who will not be harmed by them, and for those whose quality of life is crippled by pain. However, I really think the non-pharmacologic and non-invasive treatments – the treatments for issues that do not involve medicines or surgery -don’t get enough attention. I have a whole blog post on no-medicine/no-surgery ways of dealing with chronic pain, but sometimes you need just the right medicine for the cure. Heres a few golden nuggets of advice for fellow sufferers of SI joint pain.
- Try the below muscle energy techniques. Do each one for about 30 seconds 3 times. They can reset things pretty immediately.
If you don’t really feel like the pictures help, here is an awesome video
This particular one is hard to understand without a youtube video. Thankfully, this is only a 39 second video.
2. Try foam rolling!
There is no good way to describe how to describe how to foam roll, but it will make your life so much better. My pilates instructor Michele is so amazing, she put these videos together JUST for me. They are fabulous. Click on the images to go to the website where her videos are.
3. Try these stretches: