The Sacroiliac joint, known as the SI Joint, supports the movement and transmits forces between the spine, pelvic floor, and hip joint. Many muscles attach to these bones and can influence SI joint biomechanics and stability. These muscles include the abdominals, spine extensors, gluteal muscles, hip rotators, pelvic floor and latissimus dorsi muscles.
SI Joint Pain
Have you experienced unexplained lower back pain? Lower back pain affects 80% of the population, and most people will seek treatment of some kind. Lower back pain may or may not be accompanied by radiating pain down the outside of the leg toward the knee. Usually, one finds the lower back pain and leg pain on one side, either the right or the left. This type of pain is referred to as SI joint pain or Sacroiliac joint pain.
Another way to treat SI joint pain is to stretch and strengthen the muscles surrounding this joint. Since the sacroiliac joint does not pivot; the job of this joint is to stabilize the pelvic floor and hips. Once the torso moves into a twist, keep the hip bones supported. Neutralize the pelvic muscles will allow the body to twist from the waistline and use the obliques.
I would describe the pain as a dull or tired ache, which is only present some of the time. If twisting or forward bending is painful, the SI joint could be dysfunctional. One day during an intense spin class, I decided to increase the intensity on my bike, adding a few gears to the maximum level. I felt a “pop” in my left lower back which did not hurt at the time. However, later that day, my lower Back felt a dull, tired ache. I had to apply ice to that area for the next four days.
These are a few other reasons sacroiliac joint pain may occur. Walking is a prime example of how the hip joint alternately moves forward and backward with each step. Every increase in hip width causes an increased torque across the SI joint. Women are more likely than men to incur SI joint due to Hip anatomy. Pregnancy can stretch a female’s hip and pelvic floor muscles and may lead to SI joint pain. If one leg is longer than the other, this can shorten the stride on one side which makes it difficult to immobilize the SI joint.
*If you are experiencing lower back or leg pain, please consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Pilates mat exercises
Several Pilates mat exercises improve hip stabilization and keeping the pelvic floor neutral. Pilates will also increase both the strength and flexibility of your abdominal muscles, obliques, hips and gluteal muscles. There is no impact on the joints in the body. The following are three Pilates mat exercise to do at home:
**A few tips before you start, create a breath pattern with long inhales and deep exhales, move slowly and in control and keep your abdominals engaged throughout the exercise.
1. Side Leg Lifts
Start lying on your side with your back against a wall, legs are straight. Once your hips are stacked, flex your foot while raising your leg. Only lift as high as a few inches, keeping your focus on stabilizing your Hip bones and extending thru your heel. Pause two seconds, then slowly lower down. Repeat ten times on each side.
2. Knee to Chest
Start seated on your mat with knees bent and feet flat. Take a deep inhale and slowly exhaling, start to roll back with your lower abdominals engaged. Scoop your navel to the spine in a ‘C’ curve. Roll halfway down, resting on your elbows. Lift both feet off the floor, to a tabletop or knees over hips. Begin by tapping one foot toward the mat, and slowly return. Alternate legs, and repeat ten times on each side.
3. Bridging on a ball
You will need a 65cm inflatable stability ball. Lie on your back and rest your heels on the top of the ball. Keeping feet flexed, lift your hips up so that your hip joints are in a parallel line. Begin by extending your legs to straight and then rebending to your bridge position. Repeat ten times. Keeping your hips lifted the whole time, move slowly and continue to breathe. Click on the link below to view this exercise.
Keeping a neutral pelvic floor allows me to spin at a higher intensity without any back pain. If you experience lower back pain, please contact The Pilates Room at 603-817-4829 to schedule a free consultation.
Do you suffer from Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?
For more information, please visit our page Pelvic Floor Dysfunction; what is it?