After an injury, your sacroiliac (SI) joint needs time to heal. So you’ll need to take a break from some of your usual activities, especially those that may have caused the problem, like running or a sport. But eventually, getting -- and staying -- active can give you relief from SI joint pain.
Here are some safe ways to keep moving while your joint heals.
Physical therapy: A physical therapist can teach you exercises to gently strengthen the muscles around your SI joint to help the area heal and prevent another injury. How you move your body every day could be adding to your SI pain, so your therapist may show you better ways to sit, lift, or carry heavy things. She can also guide you through other therapies, like water aerobics, Pilates, or yoga. Usually, people with SI problems meet with a physical therapist about 3 times per week for a few weeks.
Water therapy: You don’t need to be a strong swimmer to try water therapy. Workouts happen in the shallow end of a pool. During each session, an instructor will guide you through exercises to make your stomach, glutes, and leg muscles stronger. You’ll also stretch out your back, hips, hamstrings, and calf muscles. Since the water supports your weight, you’ll find it easier to move around and improve your flexibility without much risk of hurting yourself.
Walking: It’s a good way to care for your lower back. Start slow with 20 minutes, twice a week. Make sure you wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes. If you don’t notice any pain, add more time to your walk or speed up your pace. Aim for 30 minutes daily.
Bike riding: Some people get relief from SI pain by riding a stationary or recumbent (reclined) bike at the gym. It increases blood flow to your sore lower back and hips without putting stress on the SI joint.
Yoga: The practice combines physical poses with breathing exercises and meditation. Regular sessions can reduce lower back pain. It’s important to work with a trained teacher who can help you change or leave out some moves so you don’t hurt yourself. Iyengar yoga is a good choice for people who have low back pain. It focuses on standing poses that correct your posture and build strength in the muscles that affect the SI joint.