Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction can occur for one of two reasons. Although your SI joints are designed to have little movement, they can become fixed, causing significant pain. In other cases, the joint can have too much movement (hypermobility) due to laxity of the supporting structures. Several strategies can be used to help minimize hypermobility of the SI joint.
Give Your Joints A Rest
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to completely eliminate pressure on your SI joints. Even when you are not standing or walking, your SI joints are responsible for absorbing the force of your upper body. Furthermore, if both SI joints are affected, you may not have a comfortable side to lie on. When you do not need to sit completely upright, you may find that sitting in a reclined position is more comfortable and reduces pressure on your joints. If you need to sit up, use a pillow or cushion to help minimize the direct force on your SI joints. When resting, placing a pillow under your buttocks and elevating your legs can feel awkward, but doing so can significantly cushion your SI joints while lying on your back.
Push For Physical Therapy
If you have been dealing with hypermobile SI joints for several months without finding adequate relief, directly ask your doctor for physical therapy (PT). PT is an important component of managing SI-joint dysfunction and finding ways to prevent or delay surgery. The goal of PT is to minimize pain and improve daily functioning. This is accomplished through a set of exercises that may help strengthen the muscles and soft tissues near the SI joints that are no longer providing adequate support. If you find PT is too painful on your SI joints, aquatic therapy might be better. In some cases, performing exercises in cool water can reduce inflammation, or if soreness is more of a problem, a heated pool can help.
As part of PT, your physical therapist might prescribe an SI belt. The belt is designed to hug your pelvis, thereby reducing movement of the SI joints. Since it is difficult to know exactly where to wear your belt or how much compression you need, it is ideal to use belts prescribed as part of PT. It is possible to purchase an SI belt on your own. If so, slowly increase the amount of compression until you are certain the belt is in the right location and does not exacerbate pain.
Knowing whether the cause of SI joint dysfunction is too much or too little movement can help you devise a treatment strategy. In some cases, hypermobility of the SI joints can be greatly reduced with appropriate exercises and support.