Sacro-iliac joint pain.
Having just covered all matters relating to pelvic girdle pain (PGP) it seems like a perfect time to discuss the sacro-iliac joint.
This can be another source of pain and discomfort during pregnancy, but thankful like PGP it is manageable and usually subsides after childbirth.
If at any time you have fallen funny and landed on your butt that was probably your first introduction to the Sacro-iliac joint.
(The science bit)
The Sacro-iliac joint is one of the largest joints of the skeleton, where the pelvis and spine join. The bone is smooth and slides together and with large ligaments strengthening their connection.
So the question is: how does pregnancy upset this joint and cause us pain? It’s all down to those pesky hormones that relax all our joints and ligaments. We couldn’t give birth without them but boy do they give us a rough time!
Normally our bodies have the ability to compensate for these changes.
But when hormone levels are higher than normal or there is already an underlying instability of the pelvis, the sacro-iliac joint can begin to slide out of place.
This is when pain is felt.
You could think of pain as the signalling telling our bodies:”It’s time to slow down and adapt your movements”
You will feel this commonly in the lumber (lower) region of the back, possibly radiating into the butt and down one or both thighs. Referred pain may be felt at the symphysis pubis .
So we can’t affect the release of the joint-relaxing hormone, this is a given.
What you can do is work on balancing out tight and/or weak muscles connected to the pelvis. The piriformis is a common culprit. It connects from your pelvis to the top of your leg. Try using a form roller or a tennis ball will also do the trick.
I keep mentioning stability and I can’t push this point enough. A stable pelvis will support your growing bump and counter the effect of the hormones by giving you a strong base to work from.
Never neglect your pelvic floor work. Use you abdominals to hold your bump in. And don’t be afraid of squats!
This all helps give the sacro-iliac joint the support it needs, to help reduce or eliminate any discomfort.
Next week I will be putting together a short video showing some simply ways to engage your pelvic floor .
(Sacro-iliac pain can sometimes be mis-diagnosed as sciatica. If you do feel pain and discomfort in this area please consult your doctor first. Seeking professional help with exercise is advisable)
For London based consultations you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sally Dixey is a Personal Trainer in Bethnal Green @ Crossfit London