Overcoming SI Joint Pain

Overcoming SI Joint Pain

November 9, 2021

Are you tired of that literal pain in your butt? Learn how physical therapy helped solved Stephanie’s SI joint pain and how her story can help you recover!

What is SI Joint Pain?

While everyone has a different story about back pain, mostly everyone can agree that it sucks and is something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy – especially when the pain is in your sacroiliac joint (also called the SI joint).

If you haven’t experienced this pain before, it can cause a variety of symptoms, including deep, achy pains with movements like forward bending and rotation. Sometimes even extension can cause pain in the SI Joint. Often times the pain is sharp and “grabs you” where it can really make you concerned about your movement.

Last, it is not uncommon for an SI joint to cause radiating pain to your buttock, groin, or hamstring region leading to concerns about a lumbar disc injury.

The unfortunate aspect about SI joint pain is that many providers instill fear of movement for those experiencing pain. Claims that your hips or SI joint are “out of place” and that they need “alignment correction” are not backed by research and often lead to worse outcomes.

SI Joint Pain Symptoms

In Stephanie’s case, she was doing her normal gym routine and decided to push it a bit on the hack squat machine. At the bottom of the squat, she felt back pain. This back pain persisted for the next few days and she was in no position to get back to training quickly.

After an evaluation, Stephanie had a couple of the tell-tale signs of SI joint pain. She had pain that was more to one side and caused some radiating pain to her glute/hip. She also experienced the most symptoms when bending forward and rotating.

The only question was, why did Stephanie experience this pain in the first place?

While pain isn’t ever directly caused by one particular factor, it was apparent during the evaluation that she had issues with the following areas:

  • Hip Flexor Shortness and Tightness
  • Decreased control of her lower back/pelvic region
  • Decreased strength and control of hip hinge motions

You’ll see that there are no mentions of the SI joint being “out of place” or being out of alignment. While we did utilize manual therapy techniques like spinal manipulations to reduce her pain, these techniques were merely to help reduce her pain and move with confidence, not to “restore alignment”.

Exercises for SI Joint Pain

Here are some of the solutions we provided to help resolve her pain:

1. Hip Flexor Mobility Drill 


The hip flexor mobility drill was important for Stephanie’s recovery because her hip flexors were causing increased tension on her lumbar spine. By using this drill, she was able to reduce the strain on the SI joint/lower back and gradually get back to movements like squatting and lunging with less SI joint pain.

2. Cat Cow Spinal Mobility Drill

By working on her spinal mobility with the Cat Cow drill, we were able to help increase her awareness of how to control her lower back and pelvis during dynamic movements like the squat. Increasing her body awareness led to improved control and confidence with the movement to help reduce her pain.

3. Landmine Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

Last, but not least, we were able to progressively improve her strength and control with hip hinge movements. In the later stages of her rehab, we were able to incorporate higher level strength exercises like the Single Leg Landmine Romanian Deadlift.

SI Joint Pain Recovery & Results

After improving these fundamental aspects of her movement as well as implementing some manual therapy specifically targeted to relieve her pain, she was back up to training without pain and killing it!

Not only is she just dominating her pain, but she is back to the activities that she loves like hiking mountains. She sent us a picture of her after peaking a 14’er at Pikes Peak in Colorado!

If you’ve ever had SI Joint pain, you would know that just climbing stairs or stepping off a curb weird can sometimes trigger your pain. To perform repetitive steps all the way up 14,000 feet is quite the accomplishment! All of this is credited to her dedication to her rehab program and positive attitude for healing!

Physical Therapy for Sacroiliac Joint Pain

If you’re struggling with SI joint pain, I hope this story can help give you some ideas of how to problem-solve your pain. Not only that, I hope this story gives you the confidence that you can overcome your pain and get back to the activities you love.

Feel free to comment below to share your stories about your SI joint pain. We love helping provide information or learning about the different ways people have recovered from their injuries!

Still want to learn how to overcome SI Joint pain? Schedule a free consultation and learn how you can overcome joint pain like Stephanie did.

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