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SI (Sacroiliac) Joint Exercises to Avoid

SI (Sacroiliac) Joint Exercises to Avoid

Sacroiliac (SI) joints connect the sacrum, which is the triangular-shaped bone that is located just under the lumbar spine, to the ilium. SI joints can get strained due to lifting weights or performing strenuous physical activity. This HealthHearty write-up provides information on the SI joint exercises to avoid along with the exercises that may strengthen the SI joint.
Smita Pandit
Last Updated: Mar 16, 2018
The sacroiliac joint consists of two joints that lie on the junction of the spine and the pelvis. This joint performs the vital function of transferring weight from the upper part of the body to the lower part. It also acts as a shock absorber between the torso and the lower part of the body. Unlike the other joints, the range of motion in the sacroiliac joint is somewhat limited. SI joint might get strained due to lifting weights or performing activities that involve excessive bending. At times, degenerative joint diseases could also affect this joint. Pain in the lower back, burning sensation in the pelvis, upper leg pain, immobility and stiffness are some of symptoms that may also be experienced due to SI joint dysfunction.

The pain usually rises when one is standing erect or walking and tends to subside when you lie down. This is because the shock absorption and load-bearing functions of the SI joints are being put to the test in such physical activities. Those who are affected by SI joint dysfunction must avoid physical activities that put stress on this joint.

Exercises or Physical Activities That Should be Avoided

As sacroiliac joint dysfunction is likely to occur due to excessive pressure on the SI joints, it is advisable to avoid all exercises that increase the load and strain that these joints would have to bear. The exercises that should be avoided by people affected by SI joint dysfunction include:
  • Crunches
  • Sit-ups
  • Exercises which involve twisting or turning
  • Contact sports
  • Golf
  • Weightlifting
Any sports routine or physical activity which these joints would be unable to handle must also be avoided. Contact sports could result in severe injuries especially if the person with SI joint dysfunction happens to fall. Therefore participating in activities or sports that have an unduly high element of physical contact such as football, basketball, and boxing must be avoided. Playing golf places undue stress on muscles and can cause further damage to sore ligaments, especially when you go in for large swings with the club. Cycling is definitely a great way to stay physically fit, but the posture which sports cycles make you adopt could exacerbate the SI joint dysfunction. Lifting weights must be avoided, as lifting heavy weights even with the correct technique places an inordinate amount of strain on the back and could exacerbate the pain in the SI joints.

Sacroiliac Joint Strengthening Exercises

Neutral spine exercises aim at maintaining the 'S' shaped natural curve of our spine. The same may be achieved while sitting, standing, and lying down. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction exercises take two forms: pelvic stabilization exercise and the neutral spine exercise. The former involves stretching that aids in the proper alignment of the pelvic area. Leg circles, knee movements, and some forms of Pilates are examples of exercises that you can perform. Let us take a look at some exercises that can be performed.

Exercise # 1
  • Lie on your back over a yoga mat. As you exhale, fold one of your knees to an angle of ninety degrees from your hip.
  • Make sure that the shin is held parallel to the floor.
  • Keep the pelvic region stable, and then circle the knee.
  • While you circle the knee, you must feel the femur head rotate in the socket of the hip joint.
  • Circle the knee clockwise and counterclockwise about five times each for both legs.
Exercise # 2
  • Lie on your back.
  • Bend one of the knees slowly and draw it closer to your chest. Stay in this position for a few seconds and come back to the starting position.
  • Repeat this step with the other leg.
  • You can also bend both the knees together at the same time, while holding the thighs with your arms as you draw them closer to the chest.
  • Hold them for a few seconds and release them gently.
Exercise # 3
  • Stand straight while your body rests against a wall.
  • Your shoulder blades and heels must touch the wall.
  • The natural arch of the spine would form in this position. Press against the wall so as to reduce the arch in the lower back region.
  • Stay in this position for ten seconds and come back to the starting position.
If you have been experiencing pain in the lower back region, you must pay attention to your sitting posture and even sleeping position. Sitting for long stretches of time in a wrong posture can affect the alignment of the spine. Sit-ups and exercises that involve excessive bending or lifting weights are some of the exercises that should be avoided by people affected by a SI joint dysfunction. This joint problem can cause severe discomfort, so take all possible steps to keep this joint in good condition. It would be best to consult a physiotherapist to find out more about the SI joint exercises to avoid and the exercises that can help strengthen the SI joint.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only. Always consult a physician before starting any physical fitness program in order to reduce the risk of injury.