Pain or dysfunction associated with the sacroiliac joint occurs where the sacrum vertebrae (lower back) attach to the acetabulum of the ilium (hip) bone. Due to the complex configuration of muscles, ligaments and nerves, it is often hard to locate the exact cause of pain in the sacroiliac joint. Women are more susceptible to sacroiliac pain than men because their sacrum is wider and shorter. Common symptoms include radiating pain that shoots down the legs and ankles. Certain exercises and stretching motions can help alleviate pain and discomfort in the sacroiliac joint.
About the Exercises
Stretching exercises will help loosen up your lower back and adjacent muscles and ligaments, particularly in the hips, abdomen and buttocks area. They also promote blood flow to sacroiliac joint area, bringing oxygen and nutrients necessary for healing inflammation and pain. Strength-building exercises provide stability for the spine, taking pressure off the sacroiliac joint. Unless specified otherwise, do 10 repetitions of each exercise and hold each movement for 2 to 5 seconds. Do three sets of each exercise.
The University of Michigan Health System recommends the following stretching exercises for pain in the sacroiliac joint.
Lie on a hard floor and extend your left leg forward. Slowly pull the right knee up toward your chest with both hands. Hold that position then repeat with the other leg.
This time, bend both knees and pull them toward your chest. Hold that position, then repeat the movement.
Move over to the doorway and lie there with one foot against the wall and the other extending into the hallway. This will stretch your hamstring (back of thigh) muscle. Hold this position 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat with the other leg.
Lie on your back, prop your knees up and slowly spread both of them outward, stretching the muscles in your inner thigh area. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, then relax. Repeat this movement three times.
Lie on a hard floor with your knees pointed upward. Firmly press your lower back against the floor, hold it, then relax. Repeat as indicated above.
Next, squeeze your buttocks together and hold that movement.
Extend both legs forward. Slowly lift them about six inches off the floor. Start elevating them to 12 inches then back to six inches as many times as you can. Strong abdominal muscles will also better support the sacroiliac joint and alleviate pain in that area.
Finally, bring your knees up, brace your feet and slowly lift your buttocks and lower back off the floor. Hold that position, then relax. Repeat for the recommended number of repetitions above.
Lie on your stomach and straighten your arms, arching your back while leaving the front of your hips in contact with the floor. Hold movement, then relax.