For most runners, the first milestone is to cross the finish line, and other goals will follow later. It doesn't have to be in a race; even when training, you aim to finish the run. But what happens when you suddenly feel lower back or hip pain?
Any pain along these areas will make running less fluid and tight. If this happens, it may be the start of sacroiliac (SI) joint pain.
Should you continue to run with SI joint pain?
Jogging or running with SI joint pain isn't recommended and can lead to further aggravation and immense pain. But you can delve into low-impact exercises that won't trouble your pelvis or lower back, like exercise walking or elliptical training.
What is Exercise Walking?
Exercise walking is also called brisk walking. It's fast-paced walking to get your pulse rate high. Exercise walking is more gentle than jogging or running because you don't have to strike the ground with intensity hence can't jostle the SI joint.
You can try brisk walking as it fits any schedule, whether outside or indoors. You can take a break from your work desk over lunch, walk on the treadmill, or strut around your neighborhood.
Elliptical Running with SI Joint Pain
Elliptical running is more gentle on your SI joint when you are in pain. It's an aerobic workout because it doesn't put pressure on your foot compared to the treadmill or running outdoors.
Elliptical machines offer resistance levels that will work your muscles and lower body, aiding you in the recovery process. The handles also help work the upper body and arms.
Treating SI Joint Pain at Home
The symptoms vary depending on each individual. For some, it feels like a sharp or dull pain on the SI joint moving to the groin, buttocks, upper back, or thighs. The pain can be on only one SI joint or extend to capture both sides of the lower back, mainly triggered when you stand up.
Other symptoms are
● A burning sensation or stiffness in the pelvis region
● Weakness in the legs
Even though you can treat SI joint pain at home, seeing a physician will put your mind at ease and aid in faster recovery.
SI Joint Pain Causes in Runners
Every stride a runner takes creates some shock on the joints and muscles. You can get an injury if there's a mechanical difference in gait or posture. It happens in the case of uneven strides due to the terrain or if you have one leg shorter than the other.
Other SI joint pain causes are:
● A fall or accident landing on the buttocks
● Stiff hip rotator muscles
● Stress or hip fracture
How to Treat/Prevent SI Joint Pain
You can try plenty of preventative workouts to ease the pain and aid in recovery from SI joint pains. These include:
Stretching the hip rotators
Hip rotators are the muscles underneath the glutes. You may perform stretches while seated or lying down, as both are effective. Hip rotator stretches include pulling a knee to your chest and gently across the body. (Repeat the same for the other knee). While;e this action feels like a glute stretch, it's a deeper hip rotator stretch.
When stretching the hip rotators, remember to hold the position for several minutes enough to make a difference in your flexibility. A common mistake with runners is holding the knee position for brief seconds and letting go once they feel some relief.
However, this kind of relief is only temporary and won't last beyond a few minutes after the stretch.
Most runners only use foam rollers for their quads and hamstrings, neglecting the hip rotators. Target the inflamed areas when using the foam roller for your hip rotators. You can zero in further and cross one foot over the opposite knee.
Foam rolling workouts are suitable before and after running. Before a run, it helps warm your leg muscles, and after the run, it helps aid recovery speed.
It's a fancy way of saying chiropractor appointment. Free your body from stiffness by seeing a chiropractor who can adjust problem areas. If the pain is too much and you find that your SI joint is less fluid, chiropractors are professionals that make these adjustments almost pain-free to offer you relief.
What are the Long-term Relief Options for SI Joint Pain
SI joint pain can be a recurring concern for runners who train regularly. No one wants a disrupted training schedule and finding a long-term solution means sticking to a long-term plan with frequent care adjustments. (You can denote this from your SI joint movement mechanics).
The ideal solution is to come up with a plan to manage your training through various exercises.
Don't be worried if you ain't a strong swimmer. Most water therapy workouts take place in the swimming pool's shallow end. If you can get an instructor, they can guide you on the muscles that target your glutes, stomach, calf muscles, and leg muscles.
The water buoyancy will support your weight, making it easy for you to move without fearing more damage.
Water therapy is less stressful on your SI joints while offering aerobic and resistance training that works most muscles.
Combines various activities, including meditation, breathing exercises, and physical poses. Yoga is prevalent in reducing lower back and upper back pains. Find a good yoga instructor who can teach poses that benefit your SI pain without causing further inflammation to the area.
Yoga comes in many forms, and you can focus on the poses that involve correcting your posture and strengthening your leg muscles.
Pilates is a workout that helps many dancers to recover from their injuries. The focus of pilates is to make an individual's core stable by strengthening the core muscles. Pilate exercises include sitting or lying on equipment with pulleys, cables, sliding boards, and springs. You might need an instructor to guide you through your initial workouts and show you how to move the devices.
Gyms have pilates classes, and you can join one while aiding your recovery from SI joint pain.
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art exercise that trains individuals to control their movements in a slow and relaxed motion. It's also known as 'meditation in motion' as it offers a balanced way of controlling movement, strength, and flexibility. The relaxation techniques aren't complicated, and you can learn a routine quickly.
When you first experience SI joint pain symptoms, you might wonder if you can run with SI joint pain. It's important to try and maintain a regular workout schedule to keep your endurance and strength optimal. Even if you aren't training or running due to the aggravation of the pain, try and maintain the right sit and stand posture.
SI joint pains cause difficulties in performing other exercises like lunges and squats. Even a simple process of tying your shoe can cause immense pain. The trick is to be consistent in regular preventative exercises.