Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Pain in the...

About 2 weeks ago after walking about 5 miles of hills with my good friend Kate I started having a mild pain on the right side of my lower back. Being the geek that I am I did some research to find out exactly what this pain was and what I'd done to cause it. After wading through a few medical websites I concluded that the pain was in my Sacroiliac Joint (SI joint) on the right side and it was probably caused by the inadequate shoes I'd been wearing while we walked up and down those hills. To try to fix this problem I went out right away and bought myself some proper walking shoes with a low heel to facilitate the full-foot walking that mimics walking with bare feet. Walking in these shoes didn't hurt my back, and after a few days I could tell my SI Joint was getting better. I also added extra stretching exercises to my yoga routine to massage and strengthen the ligaments and tendons surrounding the joint. (more on those below)

Well, all was going well, and my back was getting back to normal, then I went and fell down a flight of stairs on a weekend away with some friends.  After climbing back up said stairs, I tried to sit down to calm myself a bit. But immediately after sitting down I realized that if I sat there for any length of time I would not be able to get back up again. Ug, aside from the fact that I had a huge ugly bruise on my butt, my back had gone completely out of whack. My SI joint felt like it was going to seize up on me and refuse to let me move. So I paced around the room for quite a while trying to teach myself how to walk without pain. Those first few hours were pretty rough. I'd walk a few paces then my back would zing me and make me want to fall down or curse or both, but after a while I could walk or sit without pain. It was the moving from standing to sitting and back up again that was not fun. I was somehow able to dress myself, but there was no way I was going to be able to put my shoes on. Luckily I had friends around who were willing to baby me until they got me back home.

The whole first day was pretty bad, but luckily after a good night's sleep ON my right hip, I woke up feeling better than I had when I went to bed. Day 2 had much less pain than day 1, but all of those sore muscles appeared that day. I had a stiff neck and a sore upper back and sore ab muscles. I guess falling down stairs is a lot like having a car accident. The adrenaline rush immediately after the accident masks most of the pain, then after that wears off you feel the immediate things that hurt, then the day after you feel all of the little things that were stretched or pulled when you were trying to keep yourself from being REALLY hurt during the accident. But all in all I was VERY lucky that I didn't break a few bones or end up with a concussion after that fall. My doctor even said I looked surprisingly well for someone who'd just fallen down a flight of stairs. Then Hubby asked if I had a comedienne for a doctor. I guess you either laugh or cry about any accident, and I hate the way crying makes my face look, so I'll laugh. :)

SI Joint stretches
I talked to both my yoga teacher and my doctor about stretches to help my SI joint heal. Luckily they both gave me the same answers but called them different things. Here are the 4 stretches/yoga poses that will help a SI joint injury.

Cat Cow Stretch: On all fours, arch back up into the B - cat position below and hold for 10 seconds, then move into the A - Cow position and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat several times.

Downward facing dog: From all fours, press up onto hands and the balls of your feet. Press into your fingers to push your sit bones into the air and straighten back and legs. Hold for as long as you can.

Wall Supported Squat: With upper and lower back pressed firmly into a wall slide down until legs are at an angle (doesn't have to be all the way down to 90 degrees). Hold as long as you can.

Happy Baby: While on your back reach through your legs and grab your big toes or any other part of your foot or ankle you can reach. Grab pants legs if you can't grab your feet. Then roll around on your back massaging your sacrum. This one was a bit uncomfortable for me when I first injured my SI joint, but the more I rolled around the better it felt.


  1. Thanks for the stretches. I'm doing them first thing in the morning! I've been dealing with this for months and all I've been told is to take Aleve & rest. Well, I have a full time job, two active boys, a farm and little rest. So, better it is not. Also, no one has told me about the show thing. I go to the gym often & walk my fair share. I'm certain my shoes are playing a big role in all this. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

  2. I think changing my shoes was the best first thing I did to feel better. I tried on every pair of running/walking shoes in the store and bought the ones that immediately made my SI joint stop hurting when I walked. They were K-Swiss brand I think. Then I started doing more of these yoga poses in addition to my regular yoga practice. I'd say after the big fall and the major tweak, it took about 3-4 months before my SI joint was pain free, but I got there on my own. My Dr. had nothing useful to say to help me either. Sometimes we have to heal ourselves! Good luck!



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