Sacroiliac Joint Pain Relief: One Exercise for Instant Ease

A Quick Method for Sacroiliac Joint Pain Relief

By Coach E

Sacroiliac Joint Pain Relief thumbnail

Here is one simple exercise for sacroiliac joint pain relief. It’s super easy. You can do it anywhere with no equipment.

As always, you can follow along in the SI Joint Pain Relief video if you want. Although you should know there isn’t much to see in this video as far as exercise demonstration.

This technique can quickly drop your pain a couple of notches and get you feeling better fast.

The technique is very subtle. To do it well, you need to understand the anatomy of the SI/sacroiliac joint and the glute max.

Getting to Know the SI Joint

We’re not going to get into it too deep, but SI joint pain generally happens in the upper part of your butt cheek, right beside your spine. It’s usually described as a dull ache, burning, or stiff/achy pain.

If you look at a butt, the glute max runs from the pelvis (top center) down and out all the way to the leg.

Now imagine the muscle contracts. What’s going to happen?

The muscle anchors to the pelvis. When it contracts, it gets shorter. It’s going to pull and open up the pelvis to the front. The femur (upper thigh bone) will externally rotate. When the femur rotates, it points the knee and foot out.

That’s what we don’t want in this exercise.

We want to maintain the alignment of the pelvis. We want to maintain a neutral alignment of the upper thighs (aka femurs.)

How do we do that?

Well, you got to fight hip opening with the muscles in the front of your hips.

sacroiliac joint anatomy - si joint

You have the internal rotators and the adductors. So when the glute max contracts unopposed, it’s going to open your hips up and turn your knees out.

Oppose that by internally rotating the femurs (or thighs) to keep your pelvis closed.

That’s very, very important for this exercise.

Most important is listening to the cues and connecting with your body – the mind-to-muscle connection. Go inside and connect with your body. Really be aware of what is happening inside.

We call that kinesthetic awareness. It’ll help you with sacroiliac joint pain relief and heading off any other wear and tear damage.

Side note: if you spend much of your day at a desk, try these exercises for piriformis syndrome to mitigate some of that sitting.

SI Joint Pain Reduction Technique

So when you do this exercise, there’s not much to see here. But first, make a note of your pain level on a scale of 0 to 10, 10 being excruciating pain and zero being nothing.

If you do this properly, and it’s true SI joint pain, it’s going to drop down a couple notches after just 3 reps.

Now that you’ve got your pain rated let’s start.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with good posture. Stand nice and tall, but not stiff. Think tall, relaxed posture.

si joint pain relief

  1. Activate the pelvic floor muscles (kegals, yes guys can do it too)
  2. Slowly (5-10 seconds) ramp up glute max activation
  3. Keep a little internal rotation with your femurs
  4. Contract the glutes as hard as you can
  5. Take a few slow deep breaths
  6. Slowly ramp down glute max activation
  7. Relase all muscle activation

Start with three reps of this as many times as you want in a day. It will help prevent SI joint pain from sitting at a desk, for example. Just stand up every hour and do a few reps.

Make sure your weight is even on both feet.

When you’re breathing, slowly inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.

Keep your back and shoulders relaxed.

Once you’re finished with your reps, walk around a little bit.

Now rate your pain again. What’s it at?

Sacroiliac Joint Pain Relief and Prevention

That’s all there is to it for dropping any piriformis and SI joint pain down to a manageable level. Keep it up.

The beauty of this technique is that it’s so simple. Just hold the tips in the forefront of your mind, especially the internal femur rotation, to keep your pelvis closed.

It may take some practice to keep your pelvis closed, your shoulders and back relaxed, and practice pelvic floor activation. But it’ll improve over time as you do this technique.

If you’re in the midst of an SI joint flare-up, do it first thing in the morning, before any activity, throughout the day, and at night.

sitting si joint pain

If you’re on your butt a lot, getting up every hour or half hour and doing this will help you feel significantly better.

Also, if your pain extends to your lower back, add these exercises to improve your SI joint and reduce lower back pain.

Another way to prevent this pain and keep your hips healthy is starting on the Hip Pocket Routine in ROM Coach. (ROM Coach is a free app you can get in the iTunes or Play store.) It has routines and daily mobility exercises to build a good foundation for movement longevity in all of your joints. Did we mention it’s free?

Thanks for sticking with us. Peace.

About the Author

Eric Wong (aka Coach E) is the founder of Precision Movement and has a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo. He's been a coach since 2005 and spent his early career training combat athletes including multiple UFC fighters and professional boxers. He now dedicates himself to helping active people eliminate pain and improve mobility. He lives in Toronto (Go Leafs Go!) with his wife and two kids and drinks black coffee at work and IPAs at play. Click here to learn more about Eric.