Exercises for sacroiliac joint pain

Exercises for sacroiliac joint pain are mandatory for low back pain sufferers; do them every morning before getting out of bed.

This page was last updated by Dr Barrie Lewis on 21st June, 2019.

A Swiss chiropractor, Dr Fred Illi, was the first to prove conclusively that the sacro-iliac joint was a movable joint. Prior to that medical anatomists were convinced that chiropractors were quite wrong in claiming that the SIJ could cause pain, needed chiropractic adjustments and exercises.

He took fresh cadavers and with a series of levers and contraptions was able to measure the movement in the joints.

The pelvis consists of a ring of three bones, two ilia (no doubt why Fred Illi had such a passion for the pelvis!) and a sacrum wedged between them. Hence the Sacro-iliac joint, or SIJ for short.

Latin confusion: One ILIUM (noun), plural two ILIA. Adjective ILIAC.

New … hot off the press

STOP PRESS: Stones in my Clog, Chiropractor Bernard Preston’s third book of chiropractic anecdotes has just become available for the first time as an ebook for just $2.99. 

Stones in my Clog has several stories and sacroiliac conditions.

Diagram of the pelvis showing the sacro-iliac joint.

By placing one thumb on the ilium, and the other on the sacrum, and then having you raise your knee, your Chiropractor can feel the movement in the joint. It's really as clear as daylight. Until one or both become fixated - then you can feel the absence of normal movement. Pain.

Photograph of the pelvis and lower spinal skeleton showing why sacroiliac exercises are important.

Why? Because the cartilage in the joint has no blood supply of its own. It is totally dependent on the fluid in the joint for its nutrition, and removal of waste products. Fixation leads to stagnation, the fluid is not replenished, oxygen and nutrients are rapidly in short supply... PAIN. And Immobilisation Arthritis, the most common cause of osteoarthritis. And hence the need for sacroiliac exercises.

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Before giving exercises for sacroiliac joint pain, in chiropractic we believe that a thorough examination is vital; that would include testing for movement in the SIJ.

Motion palpation yields important information before the need for sacroiliac joint exercises.
Motion palpation of the sacroiliac joint.

Exercises for sacroiliac joint pain

These very simple three exercises for sacroiliac joint pain, and the lumbar spine, should be done EVERY morning before arising. I do them myself; they take only 40 seconds; it's time well spent, and will pay a handsome dividend. I NEVER miss! NEVER.

You shouldn't either if you have a short leg, chronic SIJ subluxations and pain, or sacroiliac disease like ankylosing spondylitis. 


People carrying the HLA B27 gene (8% of white Americans, 4% of blacks) have a tendency to get an inflammatory sacroiliac disease called ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS, or Bamboo spine.

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis has a predeliction for the SIJ and can cause Sacroiliac joint inflammation ...

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X-ray of the SI joint showing the hallmarks of ankylosing spondylitis.

No one is sure why some people carrying the gene get the disease and others don't. It's probably related to life style, diet, homocysteine cardiovascular metabolism and many other factors. Think healthy choice foods; consider exercises for sacroiliac joint pain, especially if you know you or someone in your family is a carrier.

The presence of that HLA-B27 gene can be very confusing. Patients needing routine chiropractic sacroiliac joint treatment are often told they have ankylosing spondylitis when there are no other signs of the disease.

To make a diagnosis of AS, the HLA-B27 gene must be present AND signs of ankylosis in the sacroiliac joint.

Just because you have sacroiliac joint pain and are carrying that nasty gene, don't necessarily be fobbed off with statements like you have untreatable arthritis and must learn to live with the pain.

In fact even patients with proven early stage AS in the SIJ respond well to chiropractic treatment and exercises for sacroiliac joint pain.

Leg length inequality

Radiologists have shown conclusively that a short leg causes more arthritis in the hip and knee, and curvatures of the spine. And in our experience more sacroiliac joint pain; hence the need for SIJ exercises. A difference in leg length is not uncommon.

Hilton chiropractic coalface

This week my colleague, Dr Jane Ackerman, has had a patient who has returned after a longer absence than usual for his maintenance care. He has had no pain for nearly a year, and neglected to come for his usual adjustment, every few months.

Over the weekend, he connected a heavy trailer to his car, and bingo, acute SIJ pain, radiating to the lower leg, despite having done his exercises for sacroiliac joint pain faithfully; me.

Happily after only one sacroiliac joint treatment I am at least fifty percent better with, most important, minimal pain in the leg.

Fifty percent less pain is the dangerous time, and I of all people know it. This is not a one-treatment-miracle. I too have to go the discipline of being careful, doing my exercises faithfully, sitting less at this computer! and rescheduling for the next treatment. Tomorrow.

Leg pain during pregnancy

She in turn is seven months pregnant, and beginning to experience some lower back pain and upper leg pain. She too is doing her exercises for  sacroiliac joint pain faithfully, but still in need of chiropractic treatment.

Nutrition in pregnancy

This is not going to be an extensive comment on nutrition in pregnancy. That's a big subject on its own.

What is vital is that the pregnant woman eats sufficiently omega-3 fats and oleic acid fat. Why? Because the brain is sixty percent fat, half of which is omega-3 fatty acids, and because all nerves are coated in a fatty myelin sheath consisting mainly of oleic acid.

Oleic acid and the ALA omega-3 fatty acid are found richly in many fatty foods such avocado, ground flaxseed and pecan nuts. This is not the time to cut out all the healthy fats in the diet.

The other vital component of the pregnant woman's diet is foods rich in folic acid (folate) and choline to prevent spinal cord anomalies like spina bifida.


  1. Chiropractic Help
  2. Lower back exercises
  3. Exercises for sacroiliac joint pain

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