SI Joint Dysfunction Exercises & Stretches – Ask Doctor Jo

SI Joint Dysfunction Exercises & Stretches – Ask Doctor Jo


Hey everybody, it’s Dr. Jo! I just got an
email the other day from someone named S.S. Could it be Sylvester Stalone?? He did say
he was at work and injured his hip. Could it be doing stunts on a new movie?? Anyway,
he did say he went to his doctor and his doctor told him he had an SI joint dysfunction. So
what we are going to talk about today is how to do some stretches to hopefully get your
pelvis back in alignment with your spine. That’s what’s going on with your SI joint.
The SI stands for sacroiliac joint which is the sacrum, your spine, and the iliac, your
hips. So let’s go ahead and lie down on your back, and we’ll get started with some of the
stretches. Now the key with this one is, you need to go to your physical therapist or doctor
to find out which way your hip is rotated. Once they find that out, they can do the technique
there, and then they can give you the exercises you need to continue to do. So this is what
we are going to do to keep it in place after you have already gone to your therapist, and
you know what side it is, and they have already fixed it one time. So let’s just say that
might right hip has a posterior rotation. That is what you might hear from your therapist.
So what you are going to do if it is on your right side, which means it’s going back, you
are going to put your left leg down. What you are going to do is you are going to bring
your right leg up in this position. You are going to try to push up towards your chest,
but what you are going to do is put your hand there, and push into your hand. So your leg
is actually not going to go anywhere. So the right leg is going to be pushing up towards
you, and your left leg is going to be pushing down into the floor. At the same time, you
push down with your left leg and up with your right leg. Alright for 3 seconds you are going
to push as hard as you comfortably can without holding your breath. That’s the key. If your
face starts turning red that means you’re holding your breath. You don’t want to do
that. So what I’m gonna do is I’m pushing down with my left leg, pushing up with my
right leg as hard as I can without feeling any increased pain in my back. Pressure is
okay. You are going to do that 3-5 seconds, and do that 3 times. Once you get that done,
You can bring both knees back up, then I’m going to have you grab a belt. What you are
going to do is your going to put the belt around the front part of your legs. Wrap it
up nice and tight, for Adrienne! Your going to hold it there, and what you are going to
do this time is the same kind of concept except you are going to push out with both legs into
the belt. Almost like you are opening up like a clam shell, but the belt’s not going to
let you go anywhere. So you can hold onto it if you need to if it is not a super tight
belt. Push out, push out, push out for 3-5 seconds as hard as you can. Remember, don’t
hold your breath. You have to be able to talk while you are doing it. Relax, and do that
3 times in a row. Okay, push out as hard as you can. Push, push, push, push. And then
relax. Alright, the next technique that I’m going to have you do is go the opposite direction.
So I’ve got this handy dandy turtle here to help me out, but you can use a pillow, if
you have a ball like a volleyball or basketball or anything like that, you can use that. You
can even, if you have nothing else, use your hands in-between. This is basically so your
knees squeezing your knees together. So you are going to put something in between your
knees. Same concept, squeezing in as hard as you can. Push, push, push in while you
are breathing, no holding your breath. 3-5 seconds, and you’re going to do that 3 times
in a row. If you do that, and it’s a true SI joint dysfunction, that will help slide
it back into place, and there you go. Alright, there you have it. Those are some stretches
for your SI joint dysfunction. Sly, if it really was you, call me, and make sure you
click the like button, and comment on how much you liked it. If you want to check out
some more exercises or if you want to see some educational videos, go to askdoctorjo.com
And remember, be safe, have fun, and I hope ya’ll get better soon!

100 thoughts on “SI Joint Dysfunction Exercises & Stretches – Ask Doctor Jo”

  1. You probably are not doing anything wrong. That is where you should feel something. If it is significant pain, then don't do it anymore, but if it is a strong pressure feeling, that is what you will feel. It is the joint trying to move back into place. Good luck!!

  2. Most likely you have a right posterior rotation or an "upslip," but it is really hard to diagnose yourself. That is really something a health professional should check for you. Maybe try a few as if your right side is posteriorly rotated, but if it increases the pain or irritates it, definitely have someone take a look at it for you!!

  3. Sorry to hear that happened. These are probably the most gentle way to try to get your SI joint back in alignment without a manipulation. I would also focus on core exercises to keep in alignment once you get there. I have several videos for core and back exercises ranging from using a swiss ball, lying on your stomach (prone), and on all fours (quadruped). Some of those might help. Good luck!! My best advice would be to find another PT.

  4. I am glad I can help! You might also want to focus on stretching your hamstrings…especially on your right side, and your hip flexors on your left side. Many times the muscle imbalances of those can also cause the rotation. I hope you feel better soon!!

  5. A real service–some good exercises all in one spot.

    A few questions: If your right side is posteriorly rotated, I would do the single-leg, knee push on my right side, correct?

    If my right side is anteriorly rotated, what then?

  6. Correct! If you are anteriorly rotated on the right side, then you would switch sides. So your left knee would come up, and you would push down with the right. Good luck!!

  7. Any danger or loss of therapeutic benefit in doing the knee push bilaterally–say one knee at a time, and then switching sides? My chiro has told me, for a "mild" L5 rotational issue (not sure which way–my right hamstring/piriformis gets very tight and I have bad right external hip rotation) to alternate knees to chest. This exercise looks like a variation of that.

  8. With this one, it should really only be done on the side that is rotated. The purpose is to rotate it back into place, so it would not be beneficial to both sides. With your symptoms, sounds like you should do right knee to chest with resistance. Sounds like he was telling you about the knee to chest stretch. I actually have a video for back stretches if you want to check it out!! I hope that helps!!

  9. Thanks for the replies– really trying to nip this alignment issue in the bud . Or, more accurately–nip it in the butt 🙂 I like the camo theme–appropriate for the hidden joint.

    I will also check out the back videos and also rotator cuff and knees since I play tennis. Of course, I really should be spending my time on YouTube watching Shakira and J-Lo videos, but as life would have it, I am now a fan of the D-Jo series 🙂

  10. hi doctor! great info for us injured folks! quick question, I seem to have right hip higher then left hip, tight quad and hip flexor, weak gluteus medius. will this work for me???

  11. That sounds like an anterior rotation, so you would want to bring your left knee up and push against your hand while pushing your right into the ground. If you haven't checked them out already, I also have quad and hip flexor stretching videos if you want to check them out! Good luck!!

  12. thank you doctor jo, i wish i could also make an appointment with you! i have left knee issues walking down hill hurts, probably my vmo is weak. i felt a strain running on a treadmill in December, been favoring my left knee, cant walk normal anymore, what can be the issue?

  13. Reporting back: Day three on these and WOW! I was able to do step-ups at the gym with 60 pounds and without any of the usual glute/hamstring tightness that usually accompanies any kind of weighted work. I have found that squats, even bodyweight or wall sits, have aggravated the issue. Any suggestions on how to work the hams and glutes w/o squats? Partial squats, leg press (keeps the back stable), clams? Step-ups and leg extensions seem to work fine, but squats are a tough animal….

  14. I am glad they are helping! Lunges work a little better than squats for keeping your back stable. Definitely leg press and reverse leg press if you have one in your gym. Good luck!!

  15. The sharp pain in my knee is right above knee cap, feels like my vmo is weak or something tore when I was sprinting on treadmill. I can walk ok. It only happens when I run and feels unstable walking down hill slope, no pain with stairs.

  16. Plus I can't fully extend my leg sitting down and the pain right above kneecap when I try to force it straight. Looks like kneecap is pulling towards the left. Could I have torn somtheing? No bruising or swelling at all.

  17. And my left vmo muscle looks really small compared to my healthy right knee. For a while I could not even flex the muscle, now I could but it won't hold a flex. No money yet to see a doctor. Please help! Thanks doctor jo!! Your the best!!

  18. It is possible you tore something which caused the muscle weakness. The VMO weakness could be causing the patella to not be tracking properly. I have some strengthening exercises for the VMO in my patellofemoral pain video if you want to check those out!

  19. i actually didnt use my leg alot after the injury, i think it was just a muscle pull strain, do you think the muscle became weak after not using it for a month or so. do i need to see a PT or a regular doctor?

  20. Thank you for posting this video. When I was 16, I damaged my SI joint and did not get help immediately. It took 2 months of therapy before I was back to normal. I still have problems and I am 24. This video was helpful because when I am having a bad day I can fix it myself! You're great!

  21. I injured my back when a very heavy item was dropped in my arms as I was bent over and twisted to the right. This caused my right SI joint to be messed up and now the right bump next to my spine pops out more than my left and I cant put much pressure on my right leg. Which way does it sound like it is rotated?

  22. It is really hard to say without getting to see it. It is also important to have someone (a doctor or PT) look at it because it might also be an "upslip" instead of a rotation. However, if you can feel it more on your right side in the back, then it might be a right posterior rotation. Good luck!

  23. Is an x-ray a good enough diagnostic test or are there better? Also, what doctor would be the best to diagnose? A spine doctor? Thanks so much

  24. Yes an X-ray should be enough if they are specifically looking at the SI joint. I would think that an ortho spine doctor would be your best choice!

  25. Hey Doctor Jo. I have had SIJ dysfunction for a while and I see a good physiotherapist. Except he has never told me about above exercises. When I feel bad I occasionally do above exercises on both sides (e.g. push both left and right alternating). Is that okay? I am normally not out but I still feel out and after I feel better…

  26. You should really only be doing it on the side that is rotated out. If you do both sides, you are being counterproductive. Ask your PT what kind of rotation you have, and then you can stick to just doing it on that side! Good luck!

  27. I went to a Pelvic PT and she said I had right anterior rotation. I was under the impression that if my right illium was popping out farther in the back that it was a posterior tilt. I just want to make sure I am doing the right exercise.

  28. Well it would be "popping out" out either way. If it is the top part then it is probably a posterior rotation, but if it is the bottom part, then it is probably an anterior rotation. How did the PT test to see which way it was?

  29. Oh ok, that makes sense, thanks. I didn't know exactly what specific test she did, but she looked as I walked, felt it as I laid down, and moved my legs around including muscle energy techniques. I felt very weird sensations of things moving around and i left the office being able to walk without crutches and was able to sit for 30 minutes without problems when before I couldnt sit at all. I got excited and sat for too long last night and felt it slide out again, now that leg feels shorter

  30. again and I am experiencing the same symptoms as before. I just hope that since it went out of place that easy that it doesnt mean I cant recover from this. The PT also said when I get up or sit down to engage my pelvic floor muscles…

  31. @naturemanmatt It is a good sign that you did feel better for awhile!  Sometimes if it has been out for a period of time, it might take a few times to get it to stay back in place!  Good luck!

  32. Hi can sI joint pain cause pain when standing for a short period of time im short and very over weight and I've had 2 miscarriages in one year which I think thats what started this constant pain and its been messed up ever since

  33. Hi can sI joint pain cause pain when standing for a short period of time im short and very over weight and I've had 2 miscarriages in one year which I think thats what started this constant pain and its been messed up ever since

  34. I was told I my left hip is back where right is forward. I cant seem to figure out what's goin on with my body, but when I did this my left hip clicked somewhat painfully quick then I stood up and glute contractions felt equal. What was the click? It does that when I externally rotate the left hip and when I squeezed the ball I used???

  35. ooh finally i found a video that gives you the cure (i hope).
    hi doc i really need to ask u some questions if you don't mind, cause my hip is in a huge pain.

  36. Hi Jo. I have a bulging L5 disc and disjointed left si joint. what kind of exercises do you suggest to strengthen the muscles and hopefully stabilize the joint.

  37. Dr. Jo… I am figuring out my body.. and have pain in the sacrum part of my back and hip and I think this SI Joint video is relevant.  The P.T. I had after a car accident, fixed my pelvis.  He said he was surprised that nobody else caught it as it was twisted.. right hip point extended forward and left back (is that anterior?  I am learning.)  A guy pulled out in front of me at an intersection. I attempted to stop my car by practically standing on the brake pedal and so my right hip was 'stuck' out (forward) and I walked leading with the left side of my body.  Anyway P.T. guy was great, put it back so hips were level again. However in the years that follow various massage people have notice and had me do a couple of these exercises.  After plunking around your videos (they are SO good! And inspiring!)  I realized today that this is what is going on with my hips and why my butt hurts a lot of the time. It feels like my sacrum has shifted. And in a spot that no matter how I move, stretch or sit or lie, it always feels out of joint so to speak. SO.. my question is, if my right hip is the one too far forward, do I do the left side to get it to go back?  I am confused which side.. but thinking it is opposite of what you demonstrated in this video.  Thanks a bunch!  🙂 PS spreading the word about AskDrJo!

  38. I don't have a handy dandy turtle and used an empty 2 liter plastic beverage (sparkling water for me!) bottle with the cap screwed on tight. I am able to apply full force on this exercise.  Coolio! 

  39. Hi Dr. Jo,
    Thanks so much for this video. I have had SI joint dysfunction for years and have had a lot of trouble finding medical professionals who seem to understand it. I finally found a physical therapist who showed me the same technique as the one in your video, but I am still feeling really confused in general about why I have this problem, and why it keeps coming back.  I would love, love, LOVE it if you could explain more about the SI joint in general, and why the pelvis becomes rotated in the first place. Thanks so much!

  40. I have a chronic SI joint dysfunction, I had a significant amount of muscle loss due to rapid weight loss. I see a chiropractor regularly for this. I'm going to give this a try and see if I get some relief. I'll be back 🙂

  41. I am a runner that over did it a bit, I haven't been able to run for 6 weeks because no one really knew what to do (chiropractor/doctor). It's been killing my soul. I could tell right away that this helped me. I will do it everyday!!!! Thank you so much.

  42. I have had si joint pain for the past YEAR. I have gone to physical therapy 4 times. It helps the majority of the pain, but it never goes away. An MRI just showed that i have a dehydrated lower disc. Could my si pain be from the pinched back disc? If so, any exercises that would help get it back to normal?

  43. I've been suffering with SIJD for the past 2 years and these stretches work wonders on my most painful days! Thank you for the tips!

  44. I was injured on the job and the boss doesn't like his workers going to the dr (literally, treating them badly); I waited to long to go to the dr, for the pain in my hip area and when I finally went, she said I have Sacroiliitis, and sent me back to work with a 'no vacuuming, ever' duty; not at work and not at home. It was more of an irritation, but I could still work.  In 2006, I re-injured myself by attempting to use a carpet sweeper at my new job, and it affected that si joint again, and I could barely drive home; every time I had to step on the brake, I felt stabbing pain in my left side, into the muscle.  I managed (crying the whole time in pain) to make it thru the weekend, thinking the dr's were 'closed' (<–was in too much pain to think clearly).  Went to the Dr Monday, and they did an xray and saw nothing.  The scheduled an MRI and put me on Propylene, which only made me loopy, and had an xpert read the xray with me in the room.  He said (I was 46-yrs old, then), that you have Arthritis built up around your Si joints, as much as I have seen on a 96-yr old woman.  Nothing can be done. 
     I did go to an Osteopath (Dr Jeff Kotulski) who knew exactly what it was, and started to manipulate my spine and si joint.  I had relief.  but it only lasted 3-days.  At that time, I could see him every 2-weeks, but each time, I felt good for 3-days, and then I'd go 'out' again.  Now, because of the OBAMACARE, my dr has chosen to no longer accept insurance, and I can't see him anymore. I go to a regular chiropracter.  The new dr is ok, but it takes 3-visits to feel the effects of the treatments.  so it's more costly.  Don't see how that is saving money for insurance companies, because I can't do preventative treatments anymore.
     I have done the above exercises on you-tube, but it causes more pain. I can't lay on the floor because I can feel, what I think are, bone spurs on the si joints.  One spur is poking me in the behind.  I keep trying to run away, but it follows me.  Do you have help for me? Have you learned of any new procedure?  I am donating my body to science and hope that Drs will be able to learn from what my body is doing to me.  I've been assured that my medical chart will go with my body, so they won't have to guess. I just have to keep in contact with my drs.

  45. This has been very helpful for me. I have gone to the chiropractor over and over for "rotation of the hip/SI joint" Finally, I feel in control. Thank you. Thank you!

  46. these are the exact same exercises my pt gave me, i find i have trouble doing them at home though because the one that helps the most is the one with the affected knee up and I can't seem to put enough counter pressure on the knee going towards my chest. Is there any household object that I might rig up to help with the pushing down on my knee? 

  47. Wow, this was tremendously helpful, I did these in my office and had instant relief!  Should I do these exercises daily? Thanks.
     

  48. Perfect!!! I'm headed to a new chiro in the morning to get my alignment evaluated. … My gluteus medius muscles will NOT stop contracting. It HURTS!!! So Ima thinkin' that it might be dong that because of SI dysfunction. My pain Doc implanted stem cells into the SI joint  2 1/2 months ago, so that's going to help with the joint pain in the long term.. but this muscle is madder than hell. More on the right side .. but on both sides.   What types of things cause the medius to get so tense? knotted up like a rock!!!!   I use the LaCross ball and a tennis ball and a foam roller. But we just don't seem to be getting to the root cause.

  49. Dr. Jo: Thank you for keeping me laughing.  I've been dealing with what I thought was sciatica (so did doctor) but x-ray report actually says "rotated pelvis and spine".  I'm not sure where I'm going at this point (back pain STARTED after visits to chiro for shoulder) but the stretches and exercises here have been very helpful.  Thanks again.

  50. Hey hai Jo! Am suffering from SI joint Dysfunction for alomost more than 6 years.Nobody have ever gave proper answer to my questions .I would like to know what are the do's and don'ts for a person who suffers from SI joint dysfunction. Am in a process to lose weight what all exercise I sholud avoid and what all I can do?

  51. I get massive SI pain during my pregnancies, but I also get gestational diabetes. I'm currently at 20 weeks and barely able to walk, but I'm afraid that I'll be positive for GD again. My GD can be easily managed with diet and cardio exercise, but I don't know what cardio I can do that will not further aggravate the pain. Any recommendations?

  52. +AskDoctorJo Hi, Doctor Jo. I'm 16 and have been suffering from SI joint pain for about 8 months now. I did soccer and track beforehand, and was able to touch my toes easily. However, I began to experience a tightening sensation and serious pain about 8 months ago. My hamstrings then became very tight. I tried resting for about 3 weeks with no results. I tried continuing to play with no results. I went to a chiropractor for a while and it only provided temporary relief (I'm not so sure I can trust him anyhow). I am underinsured so I'm stuck. I've heard of the muscle energy technique. Should I have a friend help me do that? If not, what should I do?

  53. I wish I would have done my research earlier. I live in MS and all but 1 doctor has told me the SI Joint pain is a myth and there is nothing wrong with me and I just need to push myself. 5 years of misery and I have all the symptoms that I've seen described on different channels that matches mine and I didn't know why I couldn't find help from any doctor here. I may never fully recover but this makes me happy just to see that I'm not delusional. Just wanted to say thanks. Hope this gets to you.

  54. Your videos are great!
    I'm wondering if these exercises work whether your SI joint is tight OR loose?
    I've been in severe pain for 2 months. Doctors thought it was due to mild spondylilothesis and disc bulge between L4, L5, and S1, but physical therapy and epidural injection did nothing. Physical therapy seemed to make it worse, so I'm giving it a few days off to try each exercise 1 by 1 to find the culprit.
    I'm getting an injection in the SI joint this week, so here's hoping!

  55. I want to hug you! I've been walking around in pain for two days. After sitting I couldn't stand straight, and even lying in bed hurt. I watched this, completed the exercises, and now 5 min later I'm standing up straight without pain. Thanks so much!

  56. Nice video. I can feel mild soreness upon palpation of my right PSIS. It's also slightly higher than my left PSIS. I will try these exercises. Thanks so much Dr. Jo. I've also been icing my right SI joint. I ONLY feel a little twinge/mild pain when I single-leg stand on my right leg and if I rotate or move; and when my feet are planted and I rotate my upperbody a certain way. I feel NO pain when I run, walk or doing anything else. I'm sure it's likely a mild situation, but you know me, I'm very attentive to the little things b/c I want to prevent them from growing into bigger things.

  57. You're a pretty joyous bunch for a doc 😀 Most I have seen are damn serious and I get anxious when they talk in their "Oh, here is the problem" tone.

  58. HI, I think I have been suffering from this for years and years! quite debilitating at times. If you can't get to a physiotherapist is there a way to find out which side the problem is at home? Example, I am getting pain on the lower left side when I do certain movements? Thanks

  59. Good evening. I have had quite a time with si dysfunction, and then a round of patella/femoral tracking issues, and now back to si joint issues (and I think they're totally related). My biggest challenge is trying to find exactly the right exercises and not have to do every one for both injuries every day as I simply don't have the time. I must say, your videos are so helpful and right on target of what I've been taught in pt. I'm so appreciative of your clear, no nonsense teaching. Well done! Thank you. If you have any ideas of how to streamline the exercises for me, I would be so happy. Cheers!

  60. You are so cool for responding. I'm a pianist and a golfer, one activity requires me to sit for hours, and the other, well, a whole lot of twisting, and posting up on the left knee. The hip pain first started after playing for a long performance. Then when that got a bit better I was practicing golf, took a swing, and felt like my knee cap was going to come off. I could feel all the tendons and stretchy bands underneath twitching and moving around. The knee is super strong now, and my pelvis still seems unstable, and this is with about an hour of core work and additional hour of cardio that I am doing most days. My friend thinks I should try eating bon bons now…yet I remain steadfast in these exercises, but wonder if I am still missing some key component to keeping that solid and in place.

  61. Dr jo i sprained my left sijoint 8 yrs ago.. and the only treatment my workers comp dr are fining me is cortisone injections, pain killers, creams, patches, and some laser treatment..hut non of this is working.Can you suggest what kind of exercises should I due to build muscle around my left sijoint region.

  62. Dr Jo, This first exercise has given me amazing results. Been doing it for 2 mos. But I am positive that because of this exercise I have developed a new problem. My right groin muscles (hip flexor?) hurt when my leg is twisted in a certain way. That is the leg that I lift up and push back on the knee. It is as if this exercise has made groin muscles stiff or something. Any remedy for that? I may have to stop this most useful exercise if there is no remedy for it.

  63. Ms. Jo,
    Could you mind answering me few questions? My sacroiliac joint feel sightly pain.
    1. Can I do the following exercises to enhance the muscle in sacroiliac joint? side bridge and rear decline bridge. Just about two sets. And I do it correctly.
    2. It is no way to train the hip external rotators by body weight only. If my hip external rotators is fine. Should I skip to train the muscle of hip external rotators?
    4. side bridge and rear decline bridge include the most important muscles in sacroiliac joint?
    5.The muscles of Iliocastalis Lumborum is connect to sacroiliac joint. Iliocastalis Lumborum is in the sacroiliac joint deep?
    Thx a lot!

  64. Dr Jo I have been an athlete for many years but I have to leave sport because of SI Joint Dysfunction. Dr gave me injection and adviced me to do swimming. I feel better but still I often have pain . Would I run again without pain??

  65. I have pain in left side of my lower back. I was told my left leg is shorter than my right – because of pelvic tilt (?). Should I press my right knee to chest or left? When I press my left knee to chest i feel discomfort in my lower back (right side).

  66. I love your videos!!! My doctor doesn't seem to know why my SI joint has been hurting for months now, particularly when I go running.

  67. These exercises provided immediate relief from the horrible niggling pain in my SI joint, coupled with muscle spasm down thigh, calf, and tight plantar fascia in foot. The thigh muscle literally released as soon as I did exercise #1. From here, is it best to do these corrections only when I feel it go back out of place, or is there a maintenance regime? Will also do the hip muscle strengthening exercises. Thank you!

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