Exercises to Relieve SI Joint Pain

  • man with lower back pain
    Moves You Can Make to Ease Sacroiliac Joint Pain
    Have lower back or lower leg pain? About 15 to 30% of the time, this is caused by problems with your sacroiliac (SI) joint, which connects your hip bones to the sacrum bone in your lower back. SI joint dysfunction is most common in young and middle-aged women, possibly due to pregnancy, which can be a cause. Other causes include accidents or falls, repetitive movements, arthritis, or poor posture. You may feel SI joint pain in your lower back or have pain, numbness or tingling down your leg. Exercises you can do at home can help you feel better.
  • Young woman exercising at home with resistance band
    Hip Abduction
    This and other exercises should be started slowly and should not cause pain or discomfort. If they do, stop. Call your healthcare provider or physical therapist if pain continues or if you have questions.

    To do this exercise, lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Loosely tie a belt, resistance band, or wide cloth strip around your knees. Spread your knees apart, pushing against the belt. Hold this stretch for 5 seconds, then repeat 10 times. This exercise is designed to tighten your outer thigh muscles (called abductors).
  • Man at physical therapy lifting squeezing ball between knees
    Hip Adduction
    Another set of muscles key to helping relieve SI joint pain symptoms are your hip adductors, which are located along your inner thighs. This isometric exercise starts with you sitting on the floor, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Place a pillow or medium-sized exercise ball between your knees, keeping your feet flat. Squeeze the pillow or ball for 5 seconds, then relax. Do two sets of 15. (You can also do this while lying flat on the floor, with your knees bent; or, you can rise up onto your elbows.)
  • Fit senior woman exercising in gym doing bridge yoga post
    Bridge
    Lie on your back, with both knees bent and your palms flat on the floor. Tighten your stomach muscles (visualize pulling your navel toward your spine). Lift your hips off the floor while squeezing your buttocks and pushing your feet into the floor. Your hips and knees should be angled in a straight line with your shoulders. Hold for six seconds then release, slowly and gently lowering your hips back to the floor. Rest for up to 10 seconds. Do 8 to 10 repetitions of this move, which strengthens your lower abdomen, lower back, and hips.
  • Woman practicing yoga, lying in knees to chest pose
    Knee to Chest Stretches
    Lie on your back, legs straightened. Raise one knee toward your chest. Gently pull your knee closer to your chest by grasping your thigh with both hands. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, release, and repeat three times on each side.

    To stretch both knees, lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Tighten your stomach muscles, pushing your back to the floor. Gently pull both knees to your chest. Hold for five seconds. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
  • Fitness woman doing clamshell exercise for glutes with resistance band.
    Clamshell
    The clam or clamshell exercise gets its name from the way your hips, knees and feet are positioned. To do this, lie on your side with a pillow under your head. Bend your knees, while keeping your heels and knees together. Raise your top knee toward the ceiling, without letting your feet part. Your legs should open in clamshell fashion. Hold 2 to 6 seconds, release, rest, then repeat 8 to 12 times. If one of your sides is injured, avoid it. Otherwise, repeat on both sides.
  • Woman stretching after running
    Quadriceps Stretch
    Stand facing a wall, about one arm’s length away. Put one hand against the wall to brace yourself, while using your other hand to grasp one of your ankles. Pull your heel back and up toward your buttocks, with your knee bent. Make sure you aren’t arching or twisting your back. Also, keep your knees together. Gently hold this position for about 15 to 30 seconds, feeling a light pull along your quadriceps (the muscle on the top of your thigh). Repeat twice on each side.
  • Senior man helping a mature woman in workout doing leg raise
    Hamstring Wall Stretch
    Lie on your back on the floor, with your buttocks close to an open doorway. Stretch one leg in front of you through the doorway. Raise your other leg against the wall, sliding it into a straightened position, with no bending of the knee. You should feel a gentle—not painful—stretch down the muscles at the back of your leg. Hold this pose for a minimum of one minute, but build up over time to a longer stretch, up to six minutes. Switch legs. Repeat the exercise 2 to 4 times on each side.
  • Woman in sunny yoga studio relaxing on her mat
    Lower Trunk Rotation
    Lie on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Tighten your stomach muscles and push your lower back into the floor. (This prevents your back from arching and prevents back injury.) Keep your shoulders flat to the floor as well. Gently rotate your legs to one side, with your feet still on the floor. Hold this for 3 to 5 seconds. Then, while contracting your stomach muscles again, rotate to the other side and hold again for 3 to 5 seconds. Do 10 to 20 repetitions.
SI Joint Exercises for Pain Relief | Sacroiliac Joint Pain Symptoms

About The Author

Lorna Collier has been reporting on health topics—especially mental health and women’s health—as well as technology and education for more than 25 years. Her work has appeared in the AARP Bulletin, Chicago Tribune, U.S. News, CNN.com, the APA’s Monitor on Psychology, and many others. She’s a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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  2. Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction (SI Joint Pain). Spine Health. https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/sacroiliac-joint-dysfunction/sacroiliac-joint-dysfunction-si-joint-pain
  3. Sacroiliitis. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sacroiliitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350747
  4. Sacroiliac Pain: Exercises. Kaiser Permanente. https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/health-wellness/health-encyclopedia/he.sacroiliac-pain-exercises.zp4465
  5. Sacroiliac Joint Pain Exercises. Tufts Medical Center Community Care. https://hhma.org/healthadvisor/aha-sacroili-rex/
  6. Strengthening Exercises for Sacroiliac Joint Pain Relief. Spine Health. https://www.spine-health.com/wellness/exercise/strengthening-exercises-sacroiliac-joint-pain-relief
  7. How to Keep a Healthy Back: Lower Trunk Rotation Exercise Video. Spine Universe. https://www.spineuniverse.com/wellness/exercise/how-keep-healthy-back-lower-trunk-rotation
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Last Review Date: 2021 Apr 21
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