I recently had a new client in my clinic who was experiencing pain in her lower back. “Lisa” had just leaned down to pick up her toddler son, turned to grab something and…BOOM. The searing pain stopped her in her tracks.

 

She immediately gave me a call so we could start treating the problem and she could get back to her busy life.

 

After a few evaluations, I was able to determine the cause of the problem: SI Joint Dysfunction caused by Pelvic Girdle Instability.

So, my pelvis is wiggly?!

In simple terms, Lisa’s pelvis moves all over the place when she walks and therefore is unable to support her lower back and torso. And Lisa is not alone in this.

 

An unstable Pelvic Girdle (just think wiggly pelvis) is extremely common, especially among women who have given birth OR are currently pregnant — AND HERE’S WHY…

When a woman becomes pregnant, her body produces hormones that cause her joints, muscles, and ligaments to relax and prepare her for birth. It’s actually quite amazing.

 

The downside, however, is that the pelvis is soooo relaxed that it can’t stay in its proper position, thus causing the SI joint pain – but more about this in a minute.

 

Even after a woman gives birth, the ligaments around the pelvis can become so loose that they still don’t provide enough support for her body.

 

It’s also important to note that SI joint pain and pelvic instability are NOT exclusive to pregnant women or women who have had children. In fact, I’ve treated many men (and women) who sit in an office all day for the same condition.

 

Hey, did you read my article on Dead Butt Syndrome? I know it sounds pretty funny, but it’s no joke! (tee hee hee…)

 

Your pelvis bone is connected to your backbone…

Humour me for a minute while I geek out on a little technical talk here – and stay with me because it will help you to better understand the physiology.

 

The SI joint connects your hip bones to your sacrum.

 

The sacrum is a triangular shaped bone that makes up the back part of your pelvis.  It is shaped like a triangle and fits between the two halves of the pelvis.

 

So basically your hip bones are connected to your sacrum which is connected to your low back.

 

It also supports the weight of your body which is why if it’s not strong enough to handle it, we feel pain – just like my patient Lisa did.

What does SI joint pain feel like and how do you treat it?

The pain felt by an SI joint problem (also called SI Joint Dysfunction) is typically felt in the lower back and usually on one side only. In some cases, patients complain of leg pain or hip pain that radiates into their groin area.

Good news…you can treat SI joint pain it in only 3 simple steps!

STEP 1:

The first step in treating your SI joint pain is to determine the cause.

 

Is your pelvis too wiggly like Lisa’s? Or do you have very little movement or even stiffness in your SI joint? (also called hypomobility)

 

It’s important to determine this first so we can start to treat your pain accordingly.

 

STEP 2:

We want to get you out of pain so you can live your life! So the next step is to treat the symptoms and reduce pain by reducing inflammation. An over-the-counter anti-inflammatory can give you enough relief to get your body into your friendly neighborhood body worker’s office…like mine!

 

Certain Massage techniques and manual manipulation have proven to be very effective in reducing SI joint pain. And furthermore, a massage therapist can treat the other areas of your body that may have gotten slightly out of whack with this new injury.

 

STEP 3:

Massage and painkillers can only take you so far. The best way to prevent the injury from recurring is to strengthen your weak links.

 

In Lisa’s case, her wiggly pelvis needed to be more stable in order to prevent her back pain from coming back.

 

The “clamshell” is a great exercise to help Lisa (and you too!) build stability in her hips and glutes in order to keep her pelvis in one place.

Clamshell exercises for SI joint pain & pelvic instability

Photo credit: QuickCareOrEr.com

Start with 2 sets of 15-20 and work your way up to 3 sets 3-4 times a week.

 

I’m happy to report that not only were we able to get Lisa out of pain, but she’s stayed that way for quite some time! She’s doing her preventative exercise and getting regular massage treatments to keep her body happy and pain-free.


If you’re suffering from SI joint pain, seek out a professional bodyworker who can help you pinpoint the issue AND get you back to your busy life quicker.

Need guidance and support with SI joint pain, low back pain or other chronic body pain?

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