The sacroiliac joint is one of a pair of joints located between the pelvis and the spine in humans, and is essential in providing stability and absorbing shock placed on the spine while running and jumping. An individual can injure a sacroiliac joint by twisting oddly, jumping and landing awkwardly, or repetitively lifting heavy objects. Inflammation and swelling in the joint and surrounding ligaments can occur, leading to pain and a limited range of motion. Along with getting rest and applying ice packs, doctors commonly suggest that patients engage in light sacroiliac exercises to help them recover from injuries. An individual should always consult his or her physician to determine the best sacroiliac exercises for his or her specific condition, which may include a number of stretching and strength-building techniques.
A mild injury to the sacroiliac joint usually causes a dull pain and limits a person's ability to twist and bend. The patient is usually advised to rest the back, alternate between heat and ice packs, and take anti-inflammatory medication for the first few days after an injury to reduce pain and swelling. Once an individual can tolerate movement, he or she can engage in light sacroiliac exercises that stretch leg and lower back muscles to improve flexibility and increase the range of motion.
Strain and pressure in the tendons and sacroiliac joints are relieved when an individual is able to stretch and relax nearby muscles. Common sacroiliac exercises emphasize stretching the gluteus, calf, and quadriceps muscles. An exercise may involve lying on the back and repetitively bending the knees towards the chest to help stretch gluteus and quadriceps muscles. Individuals can do light lunges to stretch all of their leg muscles and slowly regain flexibility in their backs. Low-impact Pilates exercises and yoga can also prove beneficial to loosening up tight muscles and removing strain from the joints.
Strengthening exercises can be done once a joint begins to heal and moving becomes easier. If the joints allow it, a person can bend forward, backward, and side-to-side while standing to increase muscle tone and strength. An individual may be able to engage in higher intensity Pilates or similar exercise programs. Finally, light walking or jogging can help restrengthen tendons and muscles near the end of recovery time.
Severe or persistent pain in the sacroiliac joints should be reported to a doctor, who can consider other treatment options. A doctor can check for problems by performing physical exams and taking x-rays of the joints. Most severe instances of sacroiliac pain are treated with prescription corticosteroids and drugs that promote joint healing. Individuals who are debilitated with joint issues usually take part in rehabilitation programs, where trained physical therapists can design and implement special sacroiliac exercises to shorten healing time.