7 Best SI Joint Pain Relief Exercises

Relieve pain around the lower back and pelvis with this SI joint pain relief routine. These simple exercises are designed to strengthen and stabilize all the muscles surrounding the hips – reducing the amount of shifting and inflammation within the sacroiliac joint. Get relief at home with this guided stretch and strengthening routine.

 

Sacroiliac joint pain is a painful, frustrating condition, but relatively common.

Sacroiliitis is the inflammation of one or both sacroiliac (SI) joints. These joints are located on either side of the lower back, where the sacrum (the base of the spine) connects to the ilium (the top part of the pelvis).

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is different from sciatica (although the symptoms can be similar, which can make it difficult to diagnose). While sciatica pain tends to radiate down the legs, SI joint pain is often more localized near the lower back.

Stressors like arthritis, excessive hip mobility, and hormone changes during pregnancy can all contribute to SI joint pain.

These seven exercises for SI joint pain relief are designed to both strengthen and stabilize all the muscles surrounding the hip joints – reducing the amount of shifting and inflammation within the SI joint.

woman performing figure four stretch as example of si joint pain relief exercises

SI Joint Pain Relief FAQs

How Do I Release My SI Joint?

Gentle exercises that activate the stabilizing muscles surrounding the hips can help ease pain around the SI joint. Popular examples include glute bridges and banded squats, both of which activate the outer glutes and inner thighs.

What Causes SI Joint Pain?

SI joint pain is relatively common, and can be caused by a number of different stressors. Arthritis is a common cause of inflammation in the SI joint. Pregnancy is also a common cause of SI joint pain, due to hormone changes, shifting of the hips and joints loosening.

What Are The Worst Exercises for SI Joint Pain?

If you’re dealing with intense SI joint pain, you may want to avoid exercises like lunges which shift weight between the hips. Instead, sub hip stabilizing exercises such as glute bridges.

How Do You Treat SI Joint Pain?

If you’re feeling pain, I highly recommend reaching out to your doctor or physical therapist. Gentle movement, such as walking or low impact cardio, can increase blood flow to the hips and pelvis, which can reduce tightness and pain. Additionally, anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, may temporarily help relieve pain.

Woman performing clamshell exercise as example of SI joint pain exercises

SI Joint Pain Relief Routine

Reduce hip and lower back pain and increase hip stability with these seven exercises for SI joint pain.

I suggest incorporating mobility workouts like this one to your home workout plan 1-2 times per week to protect and maintain healthy joints and muscles.

Workout Equipment:

Optional mini loop resistance band (discount code: NML), pilates ball, and kettlebell or dumbbell (discount code: NMLTQ5).

You can also perform these moves with just your body weight.

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woman performing single leg glute bridge to reduce SI joint pain

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with these guided SI Joint Pain Relief on YouTubeled by certified personal trainer, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 7 Exercises for SI Joint Pain Relief (SI Joint Dysfunction)
  • Timed Intervals (perform exercise for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds)
  • Repeat All 7 Exercises x1 Set (no repeats, just alternate sides as needed)

Workout Outline

  1. Glute Bridge Hold with Abduction
  2. Glute Bridge Hold with Adduction
  3. Single Leg Glute Bridge and Opposite Knee Press
  4. Modified Plank with Clamshell Lift
  5. Banded Squats
  6. Loaded Hip Shift
  7. Airplane Pose to Half Moon Pose
woman performing banded squat as example of exercises for si joint pain

7 SI Joint Pain Exercises

Glute Bridge Hold with Abduction

Targets: Hip abductors (outer glutes and thighs), gluteus medius and gluteus minimus (upper and side glutes).

One of the most common exercises recommended in physical therapy to strengthen the hip abductors.

woman performing glute bridge hold with abduction to release SI joint pain

How To Do Glute Bridge Holds with Hip Abductions

  1. Place an optional resistance band six inches above your knees.
  2. Lie flat on the floor on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, feet hip width apart.
  3. Press through the heels to lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. This is a glute bridge. Keep your abs drawn in, belly button pulled towards the spine, so you don’t overextend your back.
  4. Hold your hips high at the top of the glute bridge, then slowly and with control, open your legs, stretching the band as your knees drive away from each other.
  5. Hold for a three-count, then lower your hips with control, returning to starting position.

Glute Bridge Hold with Adduction

Targets: Inner thighs (including the adductor longus, adductor brevis, and adductor magnus), glutes and core.

Adduction means moving the limbs towards the midline of your body (the opposite of abduction). Strong hip adductors help stabilize the pelvic floor and hips.

woman performing glute bridge hold with adduction as example of si joint pain exercises

How To Do Glute Bridge Holds with Adductions

  1. Lie flat on the floor on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground, feet hip width apart. Option to place a pilates ball or pillow between your knees.
  2. Press through the heels to lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. This is a glute bridge. Keep your abs drawn in, belly button pulled towards the spine, so you don’t overextend your back.
  3. Squeeze your knees together, activating your inner thighs.
  4. Hold for a three-count, then lower the hips slowly and with control, returning to starting position.

Single Leg Glute Bridge and Opposite Knee Press

Targets: Glutes, hamstrings, hips, core and pelvic floor.

This single leg exercise will challenge your balance and has been named one of the best exercises to build glute strength.

woman performing single leg glute bridge hold with opposite arm press as example of SI Joint Pain Exercises

How To Do Single Leg Glute Bridges and Opposite Knee Presses

  1. Start laying on your back, knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Keeping both knees bent, press through your right heel as you raise your glutes off the mat. As you raise your hips, drive your left knee up, finding a single leg glute bridge hold.
  3. Press both hands into your left knee, activating your deep core muscles.
  4. Hold for a three-count, then slowly lower with control, returning to starting position.

Modified Plank with Clamshell Lift

Targets: Gluteus medius (which lays on the outer edge of the buttocks and is responsible for stabilizing your pelvis), gluteus minimus (hip extension), obliques and core.

Clamshell exercises can help balance the muscular effort between your inner and outer thighs and your pelvic floor.

woman performing a modified side plank with clamshells as example of si joint pain relief

How To Do Modified Planks with Clamshell Lifts

  1. Start laying on your left side, legs stacked and knees bent at a 45-degree angle, feet together. Rest your left forearm on the mat.
  2. Press through your forearm to lift your hips, finding a modified side plank position. Shoulders are stacked over left elbow, core engaged. Hold this position.
  3. Keeping your feet touching, squeeze your outer glutes to open your top right knee, mimicking a clamshell opening.
  4. Slowly and with control, reverse the movement, bringing your right knee to touch the left knee, returning to starting position.

Banded Squat

Targets: Gluteus medius, hip abductors and quadriceps.

woman performing banded squats as example of Exercises for SI Joint Pain

How To Do Banded Squats

  1. Option to place a resistance band around your calves, avoiding placing the band directly on the ankle joint.
  2. Start standing, feet slightly wider than your hips to create tension across the band (activating your glutes).
  3. Sit back into a squat, lowering your hips until they are parallel to the knees, striving for a 90-degree angle.
  4. Then, drive through your heels to return to a standing position.

Loaded Hip Shift

Targets: Hip, knee, and ankle mobility. As well as increases flexibility in the hamstrings and adductors (inner thighs).

woman performing a loaded hip shift as example of si joint pain relief

How To Do Weighted Hip Shifts

  1. Start kneeling. Option to hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in front of your hips.
  2. Step your left foot out to the left side, left knee bent at 90 degrees and toes pointing towards the left.
  3. Slowly and with control, shift your weight towards your left heel, aiming to push your left knee towards your left toes. Focus on keeping your left heel planted on the ground.
  4. Then, slowly and with control, press through your left heel to shift your hips to the right, returning to starting position.

Airplane Pose to Half Moon Pose

Targets: Hamstrings, outer glutes, inner thighs and core.

woman performing airplane pose to half moon pose to stabilize hips

How To Do Airplane Pose to Half Moon Pose

  1. Start standing, feet hip width apart, slight bend in both knees.
  2. Shift your weight into your left foot as you float your right leg behind you, aiming to keep both legs as straight as possible.
  3. Slowly hinge at the hips, lowering your torso towards the ground. Spread your arms out wide for balance support.
  4. Then, slowly rotate your torso and hips towards the right, opening up the body towards the right side of the room and finding half moon pose.
  5. Slowly and with control, reverse the rotation, returning to starting position.

Pin This Workout: SI Joint Pain Relief Stretching Routine

woman performing glute bridge to relieve si joint pain

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