SI Joints & Pregnancy

I was interviewed a few months ago for an article in Experience Life magazine for a piece on hip mobility along with Gray Cook, Mike Boyle and several others. They included a side bar about the SI Joint.

As a result of the article, I was asked to give some quick feedback about pregnancy and SI joint pain and thought I would share the answer here as well. Enjoy!

The original question:

"I have been reading this article on joint pain and was surprised to see a connection between having a very large baby and SI joint pain. I had a 10 lb. baby a long time ago but I have had intermittent pain on and off for years. I am 5'1" and have a normal body weight. Please comment if possible. Thanks."

Great question about a very frequent complaint. The sacroiliac joints (SIJ’s) are two of the most important supporting joints of the body. They are found in the pelvis and provide tremendous stability as well as a platform for the efficient transfer of force during our gait cycle. Unfortunately, during pregnancy, the SI joints are often under much more significant stress than normal as a result of two primary factors:

  1. Carrying an ever-growing baby, and,
  2. Hormonal changes that cause significant relaxation of the ligamentous tension designed to hold the joints “together”.

This relaxation is necessary to allow the pelvis to stretch enough to allow the baby to move through the birth canal. However, this stretching can result in changes to the SIJ’s, leaving them “overstretched”. Woman who carry and deliver large babies often experience this issue which can manifest as pain and discomfort in the low back.

Statistically speaking, women are 8 to 10 times more likely to experience SIJ-related pain than men because of both structural and hormonal differences. There is good news, however. SIJ dysfunction does not have to be a life-long sentence to pain and discomfort!

 As we have learned more about how forces are transmitted in the body, the SIJ’s have become a huge topic of interest. It appears that one of their primary functions is to transmit the forces that enter the body at the foot during heel strike across the pelvis to the opposite upper extremity. This is a very complex neurological and biomechanical task that creates ongoing adaptation in the body. What this means for us in practical terms, is that if you have lower extremity issues, like significant foot, ankle, knee or hip immobility, this will often cause an INCREASE in SIJ instability. As we explain in our training system, the body wants to maintain a certain level of overall mobility. When one area loses mobility, the natural response is to increase mobility elsewhere to make up for the loss.

So, for people with chronic SIJ pain and instability, the key is often to find other areas of the body that are immobile. Increasing mobility in these areas through appropriate exercises can often “magically” take care of SIJ pain when all else has failed.

Share This:

| More

Subscribe via RSS:

Subscribe via RSS