The sacroiliac joint is the joint that connects the sacrum of the spine to the right or left iliac bone. Many athletes suffer from sacroiliitis, and it can be frustrating to continue making progress towards goals. Should you stop training?
These iliac bones are the large ones that make up the pelvis. The sacrum is the triangular bony structure located at the bottom of the spine, just above the tailbone. The sacroiliacs are important when you consider what they can handle: they support the weight of your entire upper body when you’re upright and help maintain balance while walking, as well as absorb shock to your spine. These joints are relatively immobile and typically only allow a few degrees of rotation.
Some things that can irritate the sacroiliac joint and cause sacroiliitis and lower back discomfort include: the wear and tear of aging, joint injury from a fall or severe impact, an abnormal gait (how a person walks) , certain medical conditions. Women are typically 8 to 10 times more likely to develop sacroiliitis, due to structural and hormonal differences between the sexes.
Causes of sacroiliitis
The sacroiliac joint is very prone to irritation over time, due to age, physical activity, and disease. Sacroiliitis or sacroiliitis can appear due to a large number of causes, including:
- Car accident, serious fall, or other physical trauma
- repetitive stress
- Urinary tract infection
- Crohn’s disease
We do tend to affect older adults more often, but it can happen at almost any age. The condition tends to affect women more often than men and can increase in patients during or after intercourse and during menstruation. And, although it can affect athletes and physically active people, it can also affect patients who lead a relatively sedentary lifestyle.
exercises to avoid
In general, any physical activity that requires you to twist your hips , have physical contact, or lift weights or heavy objects is something you should avoid to help your sacrum heal.
There are certain exercises that aggravate the sacroiliac joint by putting additional pressure on these joints. It is advised to avoid all activities that increase the stress placed on the sacroiliac joint. Some prohibited exercises would be:
- Sit-ups or crunches.
- Any exercise or activity that involves a lot of twisting or twisting at the hips, such as golf or tennis.
- Lifting heavy weights, especially those that involve the lower back (squats or deadlifts).
- Contact sports that could further injure the sacroiliac joint, such as soccer or basketball.
- Excessive bicycling or long rides can actually do more harm than good by putting extra pressure on your sacroiliac joints.
Although not all cases of sacroiliac injury can be treated, for some, sacroiliac exercises can be very helpful in relieving sacroiliitis pain, curing low back pain, and even preventing sacroiliac joint dysfunction from recurring.
Below are some exercises and stretches for joint pain and dysfunction, but these should not be done until we have consulted with a doctor to make sure our condition is such that physical therapy for pain does not cause further harm.
Many exercises for sacroiliitis pain have their roots in pilates or yoga, as both practices emphasize improving flexibility, balance, strength, and stability. Improving these things in relation to sacroiliitis and related tissues can help with sacroiliac joint pain management.
Knee to Chest Stretch
The knee-to-chest stretch is one of the gentlest stretches for sacroiliitis pain that we can do; But don’t think that this means you will be ineffective. This is a useful Pilates stretch for both the back and the hips. For this stretch, we can do it with one or two legs.
- We will lie on our back with our legs extended.
- We will exhale while bringing one knee closer to the chest and keep it that way for 5 to 10 seconds.
- We will inhale as we lower the leg to the mat and then repeat with the alternate leg.
Those with severe lower back pain may find it less painful to hold the free leg in a bent position with the foot flat on the floor during this exercise.
Knee rotations are another of the stretches to improve sacroiliitis. They are quite mild but effective.
- To begin, we will lie on our back with our knees bent and both feet flat on the ground.
- Keeping your lower back anchored to the floor and your lower spine relatively still, allow your knees to swing gently to the left, hold for a few seconds, and then bring your knees back to center.
- We will now repeat this process on the right side.
This exercise helps build strength in the glutes and lower back, helping to support the sacroiliac joint.
- To perform this exercise, we will lie on our back with our knees bent and our arms close to our body and the palms of our hands against the ground.
- Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off the ground so your torso forms a straight diagonal line.
- We will maintain this position for 5 seconds and then slowly lower to the ground.
The yoga-inspired cobra pose, or bhujangasana, can be especially effective for sacroiliitis and overly mobile joints.
- For this exercise, we will lie on our stomachs.
- Slide your hands under your shoulders and push up, extending your arms and lifting your upper body off the ground while keeping your pelvis and legs on the ground.
- While doing this stretch for sacroiliitis, focus on lowering your shoulders and away from your ears, as well as relaxing your lower back and buttocks.
- We will maintain this position for 15 to 30 seconds and then slowly lower to the ground.
This is a common pose for beginners in yoga. It will help us stretch our hips and thighs and relax our muscles by focusing on our breath.
- For this stretch, we’ll start on our hands and knees.
- We will make sure that the knees are apart and rest the buttocks on the heels.
- We will extend our arms with the palms down reaching as far as we can.
- We’ll hold this up to a minute and repeat between stretches as needed.