With age and certain conditions, sacroiliac (SI) joint problems may arise. Stuck SI joint exercises can help alleviate pain and stiffness, and help you stretch your way to recovery.
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What Is the SI Joint?
The SI joint, according to MedlinePlus, is the sacroiliac joint that connects your sacrum and ilium bones. The sacrum, which is positioned at the base of your spine, is composed of five vertebrae that are joined together. The ilium bones are the two wing-like bones that make up your pelvis and flank the sacrum.
The SI joint connects the spine and pelvis and overall does not allow for much movement. There are several reasons you may be experiencing pain or stiffness in this joint, which include:
- A disparity in leg lengths
- Muscle tightness
- Erosion of cartilage between bones
A January 2013 paper in the journal Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics cites older age and previous spine surgery as other reasons for pain or stiffness.
If stiffness or pain worsens, you can try treatments such as rest, a massage, heating pads, stretches or icing the area, and if pain persists, consult your doctor.
Read more: The Best Stretches for Sacroiliac Pain
Sacroiliac Joint Stretches
Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center recommends a number of sacroiliac joint stretches and stuck SI joint exercises, including:
Move 1: Leg Cross
- Lie on your back and use a pillow under your lower legs.
- Rest your head on a pillow, cross your legs one over the other and squeeze them together.
- Hold and then repeat on the other side.
Move 2: Ball Squeeze
- Begin by lying on your back; then push your upper body up and support it by resting your forearms on the mat.
- Keep your feet flat and knees bent.
- Place a ball or pillow between your knees and squeeze them together.
- Repeat this movement 10 times.
Move 3: Knee Push
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and wrap a belt or cloth strip above your knees.
- Push your knees out against the belt or cloth.
- Hold, relax and then repeat this motion.
Move 4: Body Twist
- Lying down on your side, bend your top leg slightly and position it in front of your lower leg.
- Turn your upper body toward the ceiling, while holding your top leg against the floor or a table.
- Hold this position; then repeat on the other side.
Move 5: Foot Dangle
- Stand on steps and hold the railing for support; then stand with your left foot on the step and let the right foot dangle.
- Repeat this movement on the opposite side.
Move 6: Leg-to-Chest
- Lying down, keep one leg straight while bringing the other leg up.
- Wrap your arms around your knee and pull the leg toward your chest.
Move 7: Knees-to-Chest
- Lie on your back and cross one leg over the other above the knee.
- Wrap your hands under your knees and pull your knees in toward your chest.
- Hold and repeat on the opposite side.
Move 8: Knee Cross
- Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you; then bend one knee and cross that leg over the other.
- Place your hand on the side of the bent knee behind you for support, while reaching your other arm across the bent knee.
Move 9: Upper Body Raises
- Lie on your stomach and reach your arms out to your sides, above your head or at your sides and raise your upper body and hips off the floor.
- Hold, relax and repeat.
Read more: Exercises to Strengthen the Sacroiliac Joint
Ease Stress on SI Joint
You can take certain measures to ease stress on the SI joint and help avoid a locked SI joint. You can begin by avoiding:
- Crossing your legs.
- Walking up steep inclines.
- Putting all your weight on one side while standing.
- Avoid bending at the waist while reaching down.