3-step sacroiliac joint pain treatment for effective pain relief - Be My Healer
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By Sophie Xie / May 23, 2016

3-step sacroiliac joint pain treatment for effective pain relief and long term recovery

sacroiliac joint pain treatment

You are experiencing pain in your buttocks and lower back with every move you make, and even tossing and turning in bed makes you cringe in pain. Having sacroiliac joint dysfunction is no easy feat. [Check your sacroiliac joint pain symptoms here...] It can severely impact your ability to move, which in turn will manifest into a entire list of physical pains and health issues.

SI joints and fontins area

In this post, I will share with you the highly effective 3-step sacroiliac joint pain treatment that can offer you enough pain relief and sanity to move you towards long-term recovery.

Step 1: Sacroiliac joint support

One of the fastest ways to relieve sacroiliac joint pain is through wearing a sacroiliac joint belt. A SI belt is worn underneath your clothing to provide compression and support to keeping your SI joints stable. They come in different designs and should be worn consistently to achieve the best results. You can find out how a SI joint belt may benefit your pain and how to choose a SI joint belt to fit your needs here.

Note: In order to facilitate a complete recovery from sacroiliac joints dysfunction, the SI belt needs to be worn at all times for 3-6 months depending on the severity of your condition. More efforts into compliance lead to better and faster results. 

However, if your SI joint pain is severe and surrounding tissues are tender and sensitive, you may not be able to tolerate an SI belt just yet. The other option is learning to apply kinesiology tapes to your SI joint region for support and pain relief.

Kinesiology tape was invented by Dr. Kenso Kase in Japan ​25 years ago. It has became popular in the West in recent years to assist with sport performance in injury treatment. Kinesiology tape can be used throughout your body to help your musculoskeletal system in various ways, and it causes very little to no discomfort or irritation.

Applying kinesiology tape requires some learning and practice. However, with some practice, you can even apply the tape yourself. The downside of using the tape is that the cost of tape will add up to a small fortune if you plan to use it long term. The best strategy is to switch to an SI belt as soon as your tenderness improves.

Here is an example of the kinesiology taping technique for ​sacroiliac joint pain:

Sacroiliac joint alignment

If the SI belt and Kinesiology tape fail to provide pain relief, you are probably walking around with poorly aligned sacroiliac joints. The sacroiliac joints usually become inflamed due to poor stability and excessive mobility within the joints.  With excessive mobility, the sacroiliac joints may pop out of place and become stuck in the faulty position. If your sacroiliac joint is out of place, it needs to be placed back into proper alignment, then reinforced to the correct alignment with belt or tapes.

In order to correct sacroiliac joint alignment, you need to visit a skilled health provider. Physical therapists and chiropractors are both good choices for this issue.

You may receive thrust adjustment to snap the joints back into place. This is a great treatment for those with less tenderness and sensitivity. It is fast and effect.​ However, it may causes residual irritation in the joints after the treatment, and this side-effect can make pain worse for those with already tender sacroiliac joints.

physical therapist

The other option to correct sacroiliac alignment is using a gentle Muscle Energy Technique. This technique does not require dramatic movement. It uses your body's own muscle to pull the joint back into place. In order to perform this technique, the practitioner needs advanced training and experience.

When you decide to see a practitioner to get your sacroiliac joint alignment examined, make sure his or her skill sets are a good match with your condition. You can find out by simply calling in and asking questions. In addition, you should definitely bring your SI belt with you so that you can put it on right after correction to lock it in place. [Recommended reading: Three types of physical therapists you should avoid]

Exercises for sacroiliac joint dysfunction

Let’s start with a simple Muscle Energy Technique. This technique may help you self-adjust sacroiliac joint alignment by using the force of your own muscle. It does not work 100% of the time. I find it works better if you only have pain on one side. It’s definitely a good one to try first.

Sacroiliac Joints Self Adjustment...

si joint self-adjustment

Image source: hep2go

  • Lay down on a comfortable surface facing up.
  • Bring the painful side's knee up and hold it up with both hands (knee bent and hip flexed). Relax the opposite leg straight and down.
  • Try to extend your hip by push your knee straight and away from your head, meanwhile resisting this movement with your hands.
  • Hold this activation for 8-10 seconds. Repeat up to 5 times, each time bringing your knee closer to your chest within pain free range.

Frequency: As often as you experience pain in the SI joint, if you find this technique helps with your pain.

Some people are familiar with the standard bridging exercise. The next exercise is the deluxe version bridging, because it has extra accessory components that make this exercise super effective to reinform sacroiliac joint stability. This exercise not only strengthen the gluteus max muscle, which plays big role in holding the joints together, the table press  and hip squeeze components also add crossing forces and support proper sacroiliac joint alignment.

Deluxe Bridging with pillow

bridging with pillow

Image source: hep2go

Lay down on a comfortable firm surface, facing up. Fold up a pillow in half and place it between your thighs. Place your hands palm down on the side of your hips. First, pull in your belly button towards your spine. Then the following three things happen at the same time:

  • Squeeze the pillow between your thighs
  • Press your arms down against the surface
  • And lift your hips up as high as you can so that your trunk and knees form a straight line

Maintaining the thigh squeeze and palm press, slowly lower your hips down.

Frequency: Repeat 10-15 times as tolerated, twice per day for 3-4 weeks.

The clam shell exercise is great for activating the gluteus medius muscle; assisting in stabilizing your pelvis and core muscles.

Clam shell

  • Lay on your side (choose one, you will need to do it on both sides anyway). Ideally, you want to press your back and heel against a wall or furniture to prevent compensation. Bend your knees 90 deg and place your feet so that they form a line with your trunk.
  • Then, without moving your trunk, lift your top knee off the bottom knee, while keep your feet together.
  • Once you cannot move your knees further, slowly place it back on top of the bottom knee.
  • Repeat this exercise anywhere from 10 to 50 repetitions until you are tired and start feeling the burn in your hip. Switch and do the same on the opposite side.

Frequency: My personal preference is to encourage patients to slowly increase their clam shell exercise repetition over time, until they are able to perform 50 on each side. At that time, they will be able to progress to more advanced exercises in this category. So for starters, do clamshell at 1-2 times per day with repetition at your comfort level.

Note: if you have pain with this exercise, especially when the knee is lift at its highest, you may try to decrease the magnitude of your movement by keeping your knee lift (hip rotation) in the PAIN FREE ZONE. You do not need your knee all the way up to get good strengthening results with this exercise.

Above is the 3-step treatment for sacroiliac joint pain. The sacroiliac joint relies on muscles for stability. The faster you return to an active lifestyle, and stronger your core muscles become, the better your recovery will be.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you find this post helpful.

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