12 SI Joint Exercises And Stretches To Reduce Lower Back Pain

Reviewed by Dr. Sudhansu Singh, BPT
Written by Charushila Biswas, MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist

SI joint exercises are very helpful for reducing SI joint pain (or lower back pain). Medication and physical therapy work hand in hand to help you get relief from this pain and improve the quality of your life. Start doing SI joint exercises every day, and the pain will reduce to a significant degree. But, don’t do just any exercise. Do the exercises recommended by doctors and physiotherapists to increase your range of motion and reduce pain. Scroll down to check out which exercises you need to do.

What Is SI Joint Pain?

SI joint pain is a chronic lower back pain that radiates along the lower hip, groin, and/or upper thighs.

The SI joint or sacroiliac joint can be felt at your lower back where the two dimples are visible. It joins the spine with the hips and is filled with synovial fluid for lubrication and unhindered movement of this joint.

As you age, the ligaments stiffen, and the cartilage wears down. This causes the bones to rub against each other, causing severe pain. SI joint pain can also be caused due to an injury, hip/spine surgery, pregnancy and childbirth, autoimmune diseases, wearing wrong footwear, and wrong posture.

So, how do you get rid of this constant, nagging pain? Do these 12 effective and pain-relieving SI joint exercises regularly. Invest 15 minutes daily, and you will definitely feel better.

12 SI Joint Exercises To Reduce Lower Back Pain

1. Hamstring Stretch On Wall

Targets – Hamstrings and glutes

How To Do
  1. Lie down on your back with one leg perpendicularly up and against the wall.
  2. Make sure your hip, back of the thigh, back of the knee, calf muscle, and heel are pressed against the wall.
  3. You may keep the other leg down or flexed at the knee, according to your comfort.
  4. You will feel a stretch in your buttocks, hamstrings, and knees.
  5. Hold the stretch for 3 seconds and release.
  6. Do it with the other leg.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 3 reps

2. Side Lying Quadriceps Stretch

Targets – Quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes

How To Do

Note: Do this exercise with the help of your physical therapist.

  1. Lie down on your right with your knees slightly bent.
  2. Hold your left foot with your left hand.
  3. Your physical therapist will hold your knee to give support.
  4. Slightly push your hips out to feel the stretch in your groin area and the front part of your thighs.
  5. Hold it for 10 seconds and release.
  6. Increase the hold time to 30-60 seconds as you progress.

Sets And Reps

3 sets of 2 reps

3. Hip Adductor Stretch

Targets – Hip adductors, hip flexors, and glutes

How To Do
  1. Stand with your legs wide apart.
  2. Place your hands on your waist. This is the starting position.
  3. Flex your right knee and transfer the weight to your right and lower your hips.
  4. Go down as far as it doesn’t cause sharp pain.
  5. Hold the pose for a moment and get back to the starting position.
  6. Do the same on the left side as well.
Sets And Reps

5 sets of 3 reps

4. Lying Hip Abduction

Targets – Sartorius, glutes, and tensor fascia latae

How To Do
  1. Lie down on your tummy on a mat.
  2. Rest your chin on the mat, keep your hands by your side, with the palms facing the ceiling.
  3. Flex your right knee so that your shin is perpendicular to your thighs.
  4. Slowly swing your leg to the left and then right.
  5. Do this 10 times.
  6. Do it with the other leg.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 10 reps

5. One Leg Knee To Chest Stretch

Targets – Glutes, hamstrings, and erector spinae

How To Do
  1. Lie down on your back on a mat. Flex both your knees and keep your feet flat on the mat.
  2. Hold the back of your right thigh with both your palms and pull the right knee close to your chest. Pull as far as you do not experience a sharp pain.
  3. Hold the stretch for about 10 seconds and release.
  4. Do this with the other leg.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 6 reps

Tip: You may also do double leg knee to chest stretch.

6. Isometric Hip Adduction

Targets – Hip adductors and glutes

How To Do
  1. Sit on a mat, place your palms behind you on the mat, and lean back a little.
  2. Flex your knees and place your feet flat on the mat.
  3. Place a gym ball between the two knees. Squeeze it by bringing your knees close together.
  4. Hold it for 5 seconds. Don’t forget to breathe.
  5. Release.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 5 reps

7. Hip Flexor Stretch

Targets – Hip flexors and glutes

How To Do
  1. Sit in a lunge position as shown in the image.
  2. Keep your upper body straight.
  3. Lunge forward and feel the stretch in your hamstrings and groin area.
  4. Hold it for 10 seconds and release.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 5 reps

8. Single Leg Bridge With Resistance Band

Targets – Erector spinae, rectus abdominus, hamstrings, and adductors

How To Do
  1. Sit on a mat and put a resistance band loop just above your knees.
  2. Lie down on your back, place your hands by your side, and palms on the mat.
  3. Flex one knee and place your foot flat on the floor. Keep the other leg extended.
  4. Push your hips up and lift your torso toward the ceiling. Stop when your hips are in line with your thighs.
  5. Hold it for a moment and then lower your hips on the mat.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 8 reps

9. Lower Trunk Rotation

Targets – Hip adductors, hip flexors, and glutes

How To Do
  1. Lie down on the mat, place your hands by your side, and palms flat on the mat.
  2. Flex your knees and place your foot flat on the floor.
  3. Keeping your torso fixed, lower your legs to the right and then left.
  4. You will feel a stretch in your lower and upper back and thighs.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 10 reps

10. Isometric Hip Abduction

Targets – Hip abductors, hip flexors, and glutes

How To Do
  1. Sit on a mat with your back straight and chest up.
  2. Flex your knees, join your soles and pull your feet close to your body.
  3. Place your forearms on top of your thighs and gently press down.
  4. Hold for 3-10 seconds and release.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 5 reps

11. Bird Dog Pose

Targets – Glutes, hamstrings, and hip flexors

How To Do
  1. Get on all fours on a mat.
  2. Slowly lift your left knee off the mat and extend your legs.
  3. When you are comfortable, lift your right palm off the mat and extend your right arm straight ahead, with the palm facing down.
  4. Hold this pose for 3-5 seconds and release.
  5. Do the same with the other arm and leg.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 5 reps

12. One Leg Twist

Targets – Hip adductors, hip flexors, hip abductors, and glutes

How To Do
  1. Lie down on a mat. Flex your knees, and lift your legs off the mat.
  2. Lower your right leg to the right side while keeping the left leg stable.
  3. Bring your right leg back to position and then lower your left leg to your left side. Keep the right leg stable. This completes one rep.
Sets And Reps

3 sets of 8 reps

These are the 12 SI joint pain-relieving exercises. Do these with the help of your physical therapist if you are recovering from a recent injury. But keep in mind that there are some exercises that you must avoid to prevent further injury. Here’s the list of exercises you should steer clear of.

SI Joint Exercises To Avoid

  • Crunches or sit-ups
  • Exercises with a lot of twisting or turning at the hips
  • Heavy weight lifting
  • Excessive biking
  • Tennis and golf

Key Takeaways

  • The SI (sacroiliac) joint joins the spine with the hips. When the ligaments stiffen, and cartilage wears down, the bones rub against each other, causing immense pain in the lower back.
  • Doing SI joint exercises helps strengthen hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, hip adductors, hip flexors, etc.
  • Avoid lifting heavy weights, biking excessively, or doing crunches to prevent further injury.

SI joint exercises help provide relief from lower back pain centered around the SI joint. You must take the above mentioned precautions, maintain the right posture, and follow the steps and reps appropriately to feel a gradual relief from the pain and stiffness. Hamstring wall stretch, quadriceps stretch, hip abduction,and lower trunk rotation are a few of the most effective exercises mentioned above. Consulting a physiotherapist can help get faster results with continuous practice and conscious movement through the day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you exercise with SI joint pain?

Yes, take help of your physical therapist in the initial stages.

How long does it take for the sacroiliac joint to heal?

It depends on your injury or disease condition.

Is walking good for sacroiliac joint pain?

Talk to your doctor to see if you are allowed to start walking yet. but yes walking helps you to care SI Joint pain. Start slow 20 minutes walk twice in a week.

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Dr. Sudhansu Singh

(BPT)
Dr. Sudhansu Singh is a Physiotherapist, Sports and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, and Neuro Physiotherapist with 8 years of experience. He is... more

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