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Range of Motion Exercises for Sacroiliac Ligaments

by
author image Lori Newell
I hold a Master's degree in exercise physiology/health promotion. I am a certified fitness specialist through the American College of Spots Medicine and an IYT certified yoga teacher. I have over 25 years experience teaching classes to both general public and those with chronic illness. The above allows me to write directly to the reader based on personal experiences.
Range of Motion Exercises for Sacroiliac Ligaments
Stretching the back and hips can loosen the sacroiliac joint. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

The sacroiliac joint is located where the spine meets the pelvis. Within this joint are ligaments that connect the bones. Ligaments are tough fibrous cords made of connective tissue, and their job is to strengthen and stabilize the joints. If the ligaments in the sacroiliac joint become tight, they can pull on the hips and spine and cause pain and stiffness. While there are some range of motion exercises for the sacroiliac ligaments, it is always best to check with a health care provider before starting any new program, especially if symptoms are present or there is a history of injury to this area.

Knee-to-Chest Stretch

If the sacroiliac joint is inflamed or painful, it may be necessary to rest the area until symptoms subside, states Aurora Health Care. However, once a doctor gives the OK, it is important to gently stretch your low back and hip area. The knee-to-chest stretch targets this area. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keeping the low back pressed into the floor, hug your right knee into your chest, holding on underneath the knee to avoid compressing your knee. If it is not possible to hold under your knee and keep the head on the floor, wrap a towel under your knee and hold the ends. Hold for a slow 30-second count, and with each exhale, focus on relaxing your low back and hip area. Release your knee slowly and repeat with your other leg.

Ankle-crossover Stretch

The ankle cross-over stretch provides a deeper stretch then the knee-to-chest exercise and can be performed immediately after that stretch. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keeping your low back pressed into the floor, place your right ankle on top of your left knee. Use your right hand to gently press the knee out to the side. If you are very tight, this may be enough of a stretch. To go deeper, lift your left foot off the floor and hold behind your left knee with your hands, or wrap a towel around the leg. Hold for a slow 30-second count, and with each exhale, focus on relaxing your low back and hip area. Release out slowly and repeat with your other leg.

Side Knee Drop

To help manage pain and prevent injuries, it is important to keep the sacroiliac joint area mobile, reports the Hughston Sports Medicine Foundation. The side knee drop exercise can help. Lie on your back with the legs extended. Bend your right knee and slide your right foot up so it is next to your left knee. Lower your right knee out to the right and towards the floor as far as possible without causing pain. Keep the sole of your right foot against the inside of your left leg. Hold for a slow 30-second count, and with each exhale, focus on relaxing your hip and allowing your knee to move closer to the floor. Release out slowly and repeat with the other leg.

Spinal-twist Stretch

The spinal-twist stretch loosens both the low back and hip area and should be performed slowly to avoid irritating the hips. Lie on your back with the legs extended. Bend your right knee and place your right foot on top of your left knee. Lower the right knee across your body and towards the floor as far as possible without pain. Your right hip can roll off the floor if necessary. Hold for a slow 30-second count, and with each exhale, focus on relaxing your low back and allowing your knee to move closer to the floor. Release out slowly and repeat with the other leg.

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