Dr. Whitney Shoults
Mobility or Stability, Part 1
A common source of low back pain could be coming from the sacroiliac (SI) joint. The SI joint is a core
structure of the musculoskeletal system that can be quite debilitating if injured. Some of the activities that can make this joint painful are walking up and down stairs, bending at the waist, rotation within the low back and more. Simple exercises at the gym, like lunges and squats, can activate and create pain at this joint if there’s a weakness.
When a SI joint has dysfunction, there needs to be a combination of mobility AND stability to re-balance this joint.
1. Mobilize. There is not a lot of ROM in this joint. Adding some gentle stretching to this joint could alleviate some of the pain. An example of a stretch would be half happy baby and figure 4. This step is to create space and movement within the SI joint.
2. Stabilize. This does not mean a decrease in ROM. This means to voluntarily limit mobility by activating the muscles around the SI joint. This step is to stabilize the joint to avoid unnecessary stress on the ligaments. Pelvic tilting (ie cat/cow) is key for these ROMs but too much of these ROMs can create discomfort. Maintain pelvic stability during movement and avoiding too much anterior (cow) or posterior (cat) tilt.
I’m not a huge fan of telling my patients to stop moving. Pain is pain. We all know the signals that tell us rest is best but movement is life too. When I see someone with an imbalance within the SI joint, I work on putting movement into the joint and then send the patient with homework. Everyone is individual and every joint is different. Knowing the limits within your own body can keep you injury free as well as keeping your body feeling young.
Do you suffer from this type of pain? Schedule an appointment, let's assess the situation and identify the best course of action to help you feel your best.