What is the Sacroiliac Joint?
"The SI joints are located between the iliac bones and the sacrum, connecting the spine to the hips. The two joints provide support and stability, and play a major role in absorbing impact when walking and lifting. From the back, the SI joints are located below the waist where two dimples are visible." Mayfield Brain and Spine
Also according to Mayfield Brain and Spine:
What is SI Joint pain, the symptoms and factors?
"Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain is felt in the low back and buttocks. The pain is caused by damage or injury to the joint between the spine and hip. Sacroiliac pain can mimic other conditions, such as a herniated disc or hip problem. Physical therapy, stretching exercises, pain medication, and joint injections are used first to manage the symptoms. Surgery to fuse the joint and stop painful motion may be recommended.
Strong ligaments and muscles support the SI joints. There is a very small amount of motion in the joint for normal body flexibility. As we age our bones become arthritic and ligaments stiffen. When the cartilage wears down, the bones may rub together causing pain. The SI joint is a synovial joint filled with fluid. This type of joint has free nerve endings that can cause chronic pain if the joint degenerates or does not move properly.
Sacroiliac joint pain ranges from mild to severe depending on the extent and cause of injury. Acute SI joint pain occurs suddenly and usually heals within several days to weeks. Chronic SI joint pain persists for more than three months; it may be felt all the time or worsen with certain activities.
Other terms for SI joint pain include: SI joint dysfunction, SI joint syndrome, SI joint strain and SI joint inflammation.
The signs and symptoms of SI pain start in the lower back and buttock, and may radiate to the lower hip, groin or upper thigh. While the pain is usually one sided, it can occur on both sides. Patients may also experience numbness or tingling in the leg or a feeling of weakness in the leg.
Symptoms may worsen with sitting, standing, sleeping, walking or climbing stairs. Often the SI joint is painful sitting or sleeping on the affected side. Some people have difficulty riding in a car or standing, sitting or walking too long. Pain can be worse with transitional movements (going from sit to stand), standing on one leg or climbing stairs."
And common causes of SI Joint pain:
"The SI joint can become painful when the ligaments become too loose or too tight. This can occur as the result of a fall, work injury, car accident, pregnancy and childbirth, or hip/spine surgery (laminectomy, lumbar fusion).
Sacroiliac joint pain can occur when movement in the pelvis is not the same on both sides. Uneven movement may occur when one leg is longer or weaker than the other, or with arthritis in the hip or knee problems. Autoimmune diseases, such as axial spondyloarthritis, and biomechanical conditions, such as wearing a walking boot following foot/ankle surgery or non-supportive footwear, can lead to degenerative sacroiliitis."
How to Loosen, Re-set and stretch your SI Joint
If you are looking to get relief from SI Joint pain and wondering which exercise to do... we have a lot to say on the matter at Bendable Body. There are a number of standing si joint stretches out there and people often wonder 'Does walking help with SI joint pain?'.
The key to understanding the most important muscles groups to stretch for any pain or injury is understanding fascia and how the body works as a whole - rather than focusing on one area in isolation. At Bendable Body we almost never ask you to stretch or strengthen directly into a pain point or injured area. The injury needs time to heal. It has over worked and that's why it's injured. A much better strategy is to get other areas of the body - or muscle groups - that are not working so well - to work better and take the pressure off the injured area. For SI Joint pain there are 2 areas or muscle groups in particular that need to be stretched with resistance for the greatest relief.
The first muscle group is associated with the Liver in Chinese Medicine - the adductors or inner thighs. It's important to stretch this muscle group if you have SI joint pain because it balances the Gall Bladder muscle group - or the IT band - which attaches at the SI joint. When the liver muscle group gets tense or tight and doesn't contract and lengthen through a maximal or even normal range, the Gall Bladder muscle group - the IT band - reacts. It does this because these 2 muscle groups have a balancing relationship. They work together in the body. When one lengthens or shortens to make a movement, the other does the opposite. But what happens if one of the muscle groups in the pair is unable to move optimally because of too much unhealthy fascia? Naturally the other in the pair will over work and over compensate. When it comes to SI Joint pain, the It band and Gall Bladder muscle group is over working and causing strain at the attachment. If you stretch the Liver muscle group - the inner thighs - using resistance of course - you will take some of the pressure off of the IT band and off of your SI joint. But don't take our word for it! Give it a try for yourself.
There's one other muscle group that helps relieve SI Joint pain. It is associated with the Small Intestine muscle group - the upper back and back of arms. The SI joint is a synovial joint filled with fluid - cerebral spinal fluid. The small intestine muscle group regulates the flow of this fluid in the body. So when it gets congested or dry, stretching the small intestine muscle group will increase that flow and take the pressure off of the SI joint.