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The SI Joint - Lower Back Problems


Matthew Brett
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I'd start with a good chiropractor along with physical therapy.  Each condition is different and needs to be addressed that way.  BTW, if you cough or sneeze and experience pain when doing that you may have disc problems.  Start with the most conservative treatments.

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I'd start with physical thearpy but try to avoid the chiro if you can. I've heard that once you see a chiro it's almost impossible to stop. I've had back issues like no other, but daily stretching, low impact cardio and yoga has helped quite a bit. I would also seach these forums for tips on correct set up posture. I learned a few things there that I was able to incorporate into my own set-up.

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Were's the pain at?

Do you feel numbness or tingling down the side of your leg?

Most of the time, lower back pain, near the crease in the lower back is caused by poor core stability, and/or tight hamstrings.

Poor core stability will cause your body to tell you, hey you need to watch out, you can damage yourself. There are times when my back hurts, i will do core stability exercises, and i feel fine afterwards, because i told my body its stable. I didn't immediately improve my strength. Tight hamstrings will basically pull on your gluts, which pull on your back. Also sitting down all day with poor posture will cause strain on your back as well. Another area, i put under core is, hip flexors, if these are week, then your posture will suffer.

If you feel numbness down your leg, or tingling, then that's a nerve issue. Probably stress is put on your sciatic nerve. If the pain is near your spine, you might be looking at a slipped disk. Both of these are consult with your doctor and possible physical therapy.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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Originally Posted by Matthew Brett

For those that have lower back issues, what exercises/stretches would you recommend.  My back is in a mess of pain and season is just starting!

Thanks in advance

I have had this issue since high school due to a track injury.  PT would be much better than Chiro because it has to do with the SI joint being pulled out of position due to tightness in several muscle groups.  If you can't do PT, then I recommend the following:

  1. Look up stretches for your psoas muscle like the one below.  It is a muscle that runs from the inside of your hip, to lumbar region.  When it is tight, it can pull the SI joint out of place. It is important in this stretch to sit back first and tuck the  butt under before you press forward, otherwise you are only stretching the Quad.
  2. You can do this stretch standing up as well.  Bring your foot behind you and put it on a desk or counter top.  Tuck your butt under, then stretch forward.  Do this stretch, for both legs, everyday.
  3. when you have a flair up, it may take a couple of days to relieve the pain. You can use ice/heat cycling to get relief too.  A heating pad can be your best friend and also can loosen the muscles for a better stretch.  Ice is great pain relief.  Anti-inflammatories can provide relief, but I never had too much luck with them.
  4. Quad, hamstring and hip stretches.  You need to equally stretch these areas to maintain balance in the area.  Google them and make sure you do them correctly.

  5. Abs - strengthen your abdominals to give the area support.  Leg lifts are especially good to provide support.  you can add weights to your legs when it gets too easy.  Lie on your back and place your hands under the lower part of your butt.  Tuck your butt under and lift both legs at the same time.  Spread them wide and bring them back together on a count of three.  Then put them down.  Do as many as you can up to 20.

  6. Lower back strengthening exercises like single leg lifts while on your stomach are good.

Best of luck

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  • 2 weeks later...

I also use a foam roller and a rumble roller to stretch out twice a day. The foam roller is awesome for getting the low back to relax and allow itself to be stretched and the rumble roller digs in there and massages everything out.  I spend at least 30-45 mins rolling out my low back, hamstrings, quads, and anything else that is tight. It is very uncomfortable at first but in time it is a life saver. General flexibility is definitely important because of how all your muscles are pushing and pulling against one another.  Core strength is of course important as we all know also.

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  • 6 years later...

I have my SI joint go out on my right side and the pain radiates across my lower back. I am seen a chiropractor but he said he is putting the SI joint back into alignment but he referred me to my MD for steroids to reduce inflammation and muscle relaxers as well as physical therapy which has helped. The problem is I have not swung a golf club in over 2 weeks and I have some outings coming up that I want to play in. Anyone have exercises to prep for golfing that has worked for them? Also and swing tips to minimize putting stress on the right SI joint?

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4 hours ago, Gutter1 said:

I have my SI joint go out on my right side and the pain radiates across my lower back. I am seen a chiropractor but he said he is putting the SI joint back into alignment but he referred me to my MD for steroids to reduce inflammation and muscle relaxers as well as physical therapy which has helped. The problem is I have not swung a golf club in over 2 weeks and I have some outings coming up that I want to play in. Anyone have exercises to prep for golfing that has worked for them? Also and swing tips to minimize putting stress on the right SI joint?

This belt below really helps when I have a flare up. I’ve had SI problems since an injury in high school. My psoas muscle stretch above and ice can alleviate pain, but the belts helps you function short term.


The Serola Sacroiliac Belt provides state-of-the-art back and SI joint support to help prevent and heal back pain. Get the back pain relief you need today.

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  • 1 month later...

Over the years I have had three back surgeries and continue to fight lower back pain, (although much less since my last operation). For tightness and pain I use over the counter pain med and ice. I know a lot of people say heat but I can tell you that ice is the best, the colder the better. I fill a baggy with ice cube and put it straight on my back, 20 minutes a session. I also do the stretches explained above, yoga is good but take it easy. If you're getting pain down the leg, (right or left), see a neurosurgeon right away. I recommend a neurosurgeon versus and orthopedics doctor, IMHO.

Be careful with prescription pain meds. After my second surgery I got a staph infection, six weeks on antibiotics, the pain was unbelievable. A pain management doctor put me on fentenal (spelling??), I was on it for over a year until I found relief by going to a chiropractor and using ice and stretching. Withdrawal off the pain meds was horrible, never again!

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Giving advice on back pain on the Internet is something I usually don't do, but I can share my own experience. If not OP, maybe someone else can find help in it. There can be many causes for back pain and many ways to fix it, where fixes for some problems only make other problems worse. I think it's important to try figuring out what you are struggling with first, before doing any kind of preventive actions.

I have had a few strains during heavy lifting (squat and deadlift) and after the last I struggled with it for two years. It wasn't a big hindrance in daily life, but certainly annoying and some activities were affected. I tried stretching (every move imaginable), bending, ice-packs and all that jazz, went to a chiropractor/physio for some time and got a bit better, but never 100%. What really made the difference was when I started watching/listening to Stuart McGill, a Canadian PhD and professor that has a lot of experience with back pain, especially in athletes. He is by many considered one of the most knowledgable on the topic. After listening to different professionals and reading so much about the topic, it was refreshing to listen to Stuarts approach. He does a great job explaining what is happening from a mechanical standpoint.

I watched some Youtube-videos, some with only audio, and bought his book, Back Mechanic. He says "[sic] non-specific back pain is not a thing and that there is always an answer". For many, doing stretches and bending is the opposite of what helps (not saying that's necessarily OPs problem), and that the solution in most of the cases is to avoid positions and movements that aggravate the pain. It's like hitting your thumb hard with a hammer until it gets sore, then keep hitting with less force many times each and every day. That's an equivalent to straining the lower back and keep bending and moving over incorrectly.

I did some self-assessments based on his book and videos, which led to a theory on what is the problem and how to attack it. Working out and stretching was not the solution. If I did work out, it was with light weights and without putting the lower back in an exposed position. I simply started avoiding bending over. Using my legs and keeping the back straight or with very little tilt. Even when getting out of bed (maybe especially since the back is more vulnerable after waking up), putting on my socks, squatting to sit on the toilet. Small changes in the everyday life. That's when I stopped hitting my thumb with a hammer throughout the day. By bending over I wasn't hitting it hard, but just hard enough and frequently enough to keep the inflammation going.

I very quickly started feeling better and after several weeks nearly all the pain was gone. I still kept avoiding bending over, but started experimenting with it here and there. The point was never to avoid those positions for the rest of my life, but long enough for the inflammation to heal.

Now I don't have any pain in my back anymore. I have felt it coming back a little when doing certain exercises, so I avoid that. I still try to think about positioning and movements in my life to avoid aggravating the lower back again, but I bend over here and there and has no problems with it. I may feel a bit sore after a round of golf, but it doesn't last long.

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You might need to ask your primary care doctor a referral to pain management, not for medication, but injections.   They will test you by performing a Fabers and Gaenslens test.  If positive then you would be an ideal candidate for a low dose steroid injection under fluoroscopy right at your SI joint

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