Your sacroiliac, or SI, joint connects your spine, at the sacrum, to your pelvis. The SI joint lacks a large range of motion; however, it glides as you flex your back or walk and run. The area around the SI joint is a nerve center, and is often the site of back injuries. Exercise and stretching of the SI joint can help prevent injury and increase mobility.
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This Pilates-inspired stretch is easy enough for anyone to try, and stretches both your back and hip. Lie on your back on a bed or mat and exhale as you pull one knee into your chest. Hold this knee for two seconds, release, and draw the other knee into your chest. Continue alternating legs until you have completed eight stretches on each side.
Gently rocking your knees side to side is an excellent way to gently move your SI joint. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet together, flat on the floor. Keeping your lower back on the mat or bed, gently allow your knees to fall slightly to the left for a few seconds. Bring your knees back to center and then let them fall to the right. Continue this motion four to eight times on each side.
Your SI joint can be strengthened by focusing on surrounding muscles. Knee stirs can help increase your pelvic muscle strength, according to Pilates-back-joint-exercise.com, which can, in turn, support your SI joint. To perform knee stirs, lie on your back with your legs straight, hands on the floor and your palms downward. Bring one knee toward your chest until it is bent 90 degrees. Keep your hips stable and make circular motions with your knee both clockwise and counterclockwise. After four to eight circles in both directions, switch legs and repeat on the other side.
The yoga pose tall cobra can also help to stretch your SI joint. Begin by lying on your stomach on a mat or the floor. Bring your hands underneath your shoulders, straighten your arms and push your upper body off the mat, keeping your legs in contact with the mat. Relax your low back and buttocks and move your shoulders down and away from your ears. Hold the position for 10 seconds and release slowly. Repeat three times.