Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Exercises and Stretches
Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain is a sharp, stabbing pain in your hips and pelvis. It sometimes radiates to your lower back and thighs.
Physical therapy and stretching exercises play a major role in managing SI joint pain. In this guide, we introduce you to some exercises that can reduce your sacroiliac joint pain. We also give you helpful tips on prevention.
Common causes of SI joint pain
Why exercises and stretches can help relieve your pain
Exercises and stretches for SI joint pain
Tips on how to relieve SI joint pain
How to prevent SI joint pain in the future
When to see a doctor
Don’t let SI joint pain hold you back
The sacroiliac (SI) joints are a pair of joints located below the waist on either side of your spine. They connect the spine (sacrum) to the hip bone (ilium). They support your body weight and provide stability to your pelvis. They play an important role in absorbing the impact of activities such as walking, running, and lifting.1,2 The SI joints reduce pressure on your spine.2 Any injury or damage to the sacroiliac joints can lead to SI joint pain.
In this informative guide, we will help you understand the common causes of SI joint pain and how you can treat it. We will explore some stretching and physical therapy exercises that can relieve your symptoms. The Injurymap app shows you how to do the SI joint exercises correctly. We will also give you tips on how to manage SI joint pain and prevent it in the future.
Remember, this guide is for your information only. We do not recommend using it instead of medical advice. You must see a doctor if your sacroiliac joint pain is severe or does not improve with physical therapy exercises.
Looking for a solution to SI joint pain? Try the Injurymap exercise app now.
Sacroiliac joint pain is a common condition. It is the culprit in 15 to 30 percent of people with long-standing lower back pain.2 SI joint pain can also be felt in the buttocks, hips, and pelvis. It can even radiate to the thighs and groin. Other symptoms that may accompany SI joint pain include numbness, stiffness, and weakness.2 Sacroiliac joint pain is often worse when sleeping or sitting on the affected side. Some activities can make the pain worse. This makes it difficult for you to sit, stand, walk, climb stairs, and sleep comfortably.1
Inflammation of the SI joints is called sacroiliitis or sacroiliac joint dysfunction. This is an umbrella term that includes many different causes of SI joint pain.
- Injuries, such as falls or car accidents, leading to SI joint damage.
- Hip or spine surgery, such as lumbar fusion or laminectomy.
- Overstretched ligaments.
- Osteoarthritis (age-related wear-and-tear) of the SI joints.
- Ankylosing spondylitis, a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects the SI joints.
- Gout (high levels of uric acid in the body).
- Hormonal changes during pregnancy make the SI joints more elastic and less stable (in preparation for childbirth).
- Abnormal walking patterns, for example, if one leg is shorter than the other.
Physical therapy and stretching exercises are an essential part of the treatment plan for SI joint pain. Exercises help to stabilize and strengthen the SI joints.2 They condition your muscles to better support the SI joints. Stretching exercises relax tense muscles and ligaments and ease your symptoms. Stretches and exercises help restore natural, pain-free movement of the sacroiliac joints.3
Exercises and stretches for SI joint pain
Standing thigh stretch
Adductor strengthening with exercise band
Lying glute stretch
Squat with ball
Many different muscles surround and support the SI joints. These include the lower back, pelvis, abdominal, and thigh muscles.3 During your rehab for SI joint pain, you should target these muscle groups to aid your recovery.
There are several things you can do to get relief from your SI joint pain:4,5
- Rest for 1-2 days, then start stretching and physical therapy exercises to avoid making the stiffness worse.
- Apply ice or heat to reduce the SI joint inflammation and pain.
- Use pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the short-term.
- Stand with your weight equally distributed on both legs.
- Sit with your lower back relaxed and supported.
- Stretch your hips while sitting by making sure that your knees are lower than your hips and that your feet are crossed under the chair.
- Do not sit for long periods of time with your legs crossed.
You can prevent sacroiliac joint pain by performing stretching and strengthening exercises regularly. Maintaining a healthy body weight with a regular exercise program can also reduce your risk of developing SI joint pain.8
In most cases, SI joint pain can be treated with home exercises. However, there are some instances where the symptoms indicate a more serious problem. You should see a doctor for SI joint symptoms if:9
- Your SI joint pain is severe and does not improve with home remedies and exercises.
- You have suffered trauma (injuries).
- You have a fever associated with your SI joint symptoms.
- You have weakness in the legs (a feeling that the leg will give out).
- You have other medical conditions such as cancer or infections.
Sacroiliac joint pain is a sharp pain in your buttocks and thighs, often moving to your groin and lower back. Activities make the pain worse, preventing you from working, doing household chores, and enjoying time with your family. The good news is that physical therapy exercises can ease your symptoms and prevent them in the future.
The Injurymap app shows you a range of exercises to activate your muscles and make them stronger. You can use the app to perform stretching exercises that relieve pressure on your SI joints. The app also contains several strengthening exercises for the different muscle groups that support and stabilize your sacroiliac joints. Do these exercises regularly to build strength and improve your flexibility. All the exercises can be done conveniently at home with little to no equipment. The app shows you the correct technique to do each exercise.
If you are struggling with sacroiliac (SI) joint pain, try the Injurymap app today. It’s a great way to stay in shape and keep all kinds of pain at bay.
About the author
Juhi Modi has two decades of experience as a medical writer with varied interests and an enduring passion for health, biology, and science. She uses her educational background in medicine to write science-backed articles for clients around the world.