Squatting is an essential movement pattern in our daily lives, whether sitting on a chair or picking something up from the ground. Squatting is also fundamental in many sports, such as weightlifting, powerlifting, and Olympic lifting. However, for those suffering from SI Joint Dysfunction, squatting can be a challenging and painful experience. This blog post will discuss SI Joint Dysfunction, its causes, symptoms, and, most importantly, how to regain pain-free squatting.
What is SI Joint Dysfunction?
The Sacroiliac (SI) Joint is a joint that connects the sacrum (the triangular bone at the bottom of the spine) to the ilium (the large, fan-shaped bone that makes up the pelvis). The SI Joint transfers forces from the upper body to the lower body and vice versa. SI Joint Dysfunction occurs when there is abnormal motion or stiffness in the SI Joint, causing pain and discomfort in the lower back, hips, and legs.
What causes SI Joint Dysfunction?
The causes of SI Joint Dysfunction are not entirely clear. Still, some common factors include pregnancy, trauma, hypermobility, arthritis, and degenerative joint disease. During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin is released, which causes the ligaments and joints in the pelvis to loosen, preparing the body for childbirth. This increased mobility can lead to SI Joint Dysfunction. Trauma, such as a fall or car accident, can also cause the SI Joint to become unstable. Hypermobility or instability in the SI Joint can also be a genetic predisposition. Arthritis and degenerative joint disease can cause the cartilage in the joint to break down, leading to pain and inflammation.
What are the symptoms of SI Joint Dysfunction?
The symptoms of SI Joint Dysfunction can vary from person to person. However, some common symptoms include the following:
- Pain in the lower back, hips, and legs
- Stiffness in the lower back and hips
- Pain that worsens with sitting or standing for long periods
- Pain that worsens with walking, running, or climbing stairs
- Pain that improves with lying down or changing positions
- Pain that radiates down the leg (similar to sciatica)
How can you regain pain-free squatting with SI Joint Dysfunction?
The good news is that most people can regain pain-free squatting with proper diagnosis and treatment. Here are some ways to alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with SI Joint Dysfunction:
Strengthen the glutes and core
Strengthening the glutes and core can help stabilize the pelvis and reduce SI joint stress. Exercises such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, and hip thrusts can help strengthen the glutes. Planks, side planks, and bird dogs can help strengthen the core.
Mobilize the hips and lower back
Mobilizing the hips and lower back can help reduce stiffness and improve SI joint mobility. Foam rolling, stretching, and mobility exercises can help alleviate pain and discomfort. Some effective mobility exercises include the pigeon, spiderman, and 90/90 hip stretch.
Adjust your squatting form
Adjusting your squatting form can help reduce stress on the SI Joint. Here are some tips to consider:
- Keep your knees in line with your toes
- Keep your chest up and your back straight
- Don’t let your knees collapse inward
- Use a wider stance if necessary
- Consider using a squat box or bench to limit your range of motion
Wear a SI Joint belt
Wearing a SI Joint belt can help stabilize the pelvis and reduce stress on the SI Joint. A SI Joint belt is worn
around the hips and compresses the SI Joint, providing additional support and reducing pain and discomfort. It is essential to wear the belt correctly and not rely on it as the sole treatment method.
Seek professional help
If you are experiencing severe pain or discomfort, seeking professional help from a healthcare provider, such as a chiropractor, physical therapist, or orthopedic doctor, is crucial. They can diagnose the underlying cause of your SI Joint Dysfunction and provide a personalized treatment plan to help alleviate your pain and regain pain-free squatting.
SI Joint Dysfunction can be a challenging and painful condition affecting daily life and physical activities. However, most people can regain pain-free squatting with proper diagnosis and treatment. Strengthening the glutes and core, mobilizing the hips and lower back, adjusting your squatting form, wearing a SI Joint belt, and seeking professional help are all effective ways to alleviate pain and discomfort associated with SI Joint Dysfunction. Remember to listen to your body; if you experience pain or discomfort, take a break and seek professional help.