SI joint pain, also known as sacroiliitis, can cause pain and stiffness in your lower back, butt, and legs. Sometimes, it can even feel like nerve pain shooting down both legs.
If you’re experiencing SI joint pain — know that you’re not the only woman struggling with this painful problem. However, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Keep reading to learn more about SI joint pain and how you can relieve it with pelvic floor physical therapy.
Where Is the SI Joint?
The SI joint is located where the sacrum meets the pelvis (also known as the ilium). That’s where the term “SI” comes from — sacrum and ilium. The SI joint connects the top half of our bodies to the bottom half, so any little shift in our body’s tension can cause SI joint pain.
Who Can Experience SI Joint Pain?
SI joint pain can be experienced by everyone — men, women, kids, older adults, and everyone in between. However, women are more prone to experiencing SI joint pain than men.
Women may experience SI joint pain during pregnancy and postpartum. Many women notice that SI joint pain lingers during the postpartum period, and others notice that the pain flares up around their menstrual cycle.
Why Are Women Prone to SI Joint Pain?
Women are more prone to SI joint pain than men because:
- Women have shallower joint surfaces than men, so the “puzzle pieces” inside their bodies don’t connect as well.
- Women have hormonal rhythms that create slight increases and decreases in laxity, which may cause muscles and tissues to loosen, tighten, or shift.
- Women tend to have stronger quads and inner thighs, so a lack of strength in the glutes or a failure to develop balanced leg strength contribute to SI joint pain.
- Women tend to carry around babies, purses, and other items on one side of their bodies, which can lead to imbalance and joint pain.
How Do Pregnancy Hormones Contribute to SI Joint Pain?
During pregnancy, the body begins to release more of the “relaxin” hormone, which, as the name suggests, helps your body stretch out and relax to make room for the baby.
The relaxin hormone can sometimes cause the ligaments and tissues around the SI joint to relax since your center of gravity must grow and shift. Even when you’re not pregnant, the relaxin hormone is released during your menstrual cycle, which is why women are more prone to experiencing SI joint pain during their period.
What Can I Do to Relieve SI Joint Pain?
The best way to relieve SI joint pain is to work on your hip and thoracic spine flexibility. This will help to keep pressure off the lumbar spine and sacrum.
Scorpions are great for building posterior chain strength and stability, but this exercise shouldn’t be attempted until you’ve had any asymmetries addressed by a professional. However, bridges are a great way to build hip strength, and specific stretches, like a push-pull technique, can be helpful to build muscle and keep your body in alignment.
What’s the Benefit of Seeing a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist for SI Joint Pain?
Most women don’t realize that we have several layers of muscle in our pelvic floors. We’re often aware of our back, core, and hip flexors but don’t realize that pelvic floor tension could contribute to tension, asymmetry, and ultimately — SI joint pain.
If your SI joint pain started during pregnancy or postpartum, there is a good chance tension in the pelvic floor is to blame. If you cannot soothe or remedy your SI joint pain at home in less than a week, coming in to see a pelvic floor physical therapist is a good choice.
Our team at Moment of Truth Physical Therapy in Peoria, Arizona, would love to help find the root cause of what’s causing your SI joint pain. We can guide you through stretches and exercises and perform manual therapy to help you feel better in no time.