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How to Sit with SI Joint Pain: Keys to Feeling Better
Sacroiliac joint pain, also known as SI joint pain, is a condition that causes discomfort and pain in the buttocks region. Every person has one sacroiliac (SI) joint on either side of their body where your ilium, or hip bone, and sacrum bone, the broad, flat bone between the tailbone and lumbar spine, meet.
Unlike joints like your knee or elbow, your SI joints barely move and are bonded with thick ligaments. Most joints are flexible and can stretch in different directions. However, the SI joints are fairly stiff.
SI joint pain is often misdiagnosed as sciatica, which refers to a pain that stretches across the sciatic nerve, the area from your lower back to your hips and buttocks, down each leg. Both conditions can cause pain in the butt area, but their pathologies are different.
Do you have pain in your buttocks? Does it hurt when you try to put on pants, stand up, or walk around? Does your sacrum feel uncomfortable? These are some of the most common symptoms of SI joint pain.
So, What’s Causing Your SI Joint Pain?
In order to address your pain, it is important to identify what is causing it. SI joint pain can be caused by a variety of reasons like injuries, stress, infection, pregnancy, and certain conditions like arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis that impacts the spine. Even just sitting for too long leads to inflammation and pain in the SI joints.
The SI joints can also be aggravated by overstretched ligaments, slipped pelvic halves, tight muscles, and lack of lumbar spine mobility. Certain types of movements can also harm the SI joints, like spinal twists where the pelvis is still and stretching the hips too much in an external direction.
If you’re experiencing SI joint pain, you don’t have to suffer. Keep reading to learn more about the best methods to sit with SI joint pain!
When Sitting In Chairs
Sitting down is one of the most irritating aspects of having SI joint pain, especially if your job requires you to sit for long periods of time. There are some steps you can take to sit more comfortably, though.
When sitting in a chair, try to keep your hips square to avoid putting stress on the ligaments on your SI joints. When you rotate your hips, you’re putting pressure on your SI joints. Keep your hips adjacent to each other and try not to lean toward one side.
Also, avoid sitting positions that make your hips asymmetrical, like sitting with one leg crossed over the other. Next time you sit down for a while, raise your chest straight up and relax your shoulders. Keep your knees apart. Make sure you’re sitting in a chair that supports your lower back.
If you have the opportunity to sit on the floor, you can also try the tailor’s position. The tailor’s position is what a lot of people know as sitting “criss-cross, apple sauce” or cross-legged.
To sit properly in the tailor’s position, sit down with your pelvis forward, gently lowering yourself down. Lean your back against a flat surface. Try to keep your body as symmetrical as possible. Any variances in weight on either side of the body will put your SI joints in an uncomfortable position.
Next, cross your legs so that your feet are sitting underneath your thighs. Raise your shoulders and relax your chest.
If sitting down in a chair is too painful for you, you may want to try using a standing desk. A standing desk is exactly what it sounds like: a desk at standing height with no chair. For victims of SI joint pain, they can be a safe haven.
Eventually, once the condition of your SI joints improves, you can begin to start sitting for small amounts of time. Start out by alternating between sitting and standing. Introduce your body to the feeling of sitting gradually.
If you haven’t set up your standing desk yet, here’s how to do it: raise the desk up until the top of the desk is level with your elbow. If you’re using a laptop or desktop computer, place it about two to two and a half feet from your face. Your screen should be high enough that you don’t have to look down at it. If necessary, tilt your screen up about 20 degrees.
A lot of people with SI joint pain say their pain gets worse when standing for too long. However, a lot of people don’t realize that they’re not standing correctly. It’s important to stand with good posture, just as if you were sitting.
When standing, keep your knees slightly bent, rather than locking them. Keep your feet apart at shoulder width. Place an even amount of weight on both feet. Then, turn your toes in an outward direction slightly. And you’re good to go! Just remember to take breaks from standing from time to time. Don’t tire yourself out.
You will likely spend most of your day either sitting or standing. But you also need to know how to sleep properly. For people with SI joint pain, it’s usually ideal to sleep on your back or side.
Avoid sleeping on your stomach, as it can put more pressure on your spine. Sleeping on your stomach is generally not recommended for people with neck or back pain.
If you’re someone that only experiences SI joint pain on one side of your body, you might want to sleep on the side that doesn’t hurt, to take the weight off the side that does. Place a pillow between your knees and ankles to align your hips evenly.
If you’re sleeping on your back, you can also place a pillow or two under your knees to keep your hips neutral and alleviate some pain.
Exercises to Relieve Pain
Besides having strong posture throughout your day, you can also implement some SI joint exercises into your routine to help with your pain. Many effective exercises can be done simply sitting in a chair or on the floor. SI joint exercises will strengthen the muscles around your joints and increase flexibility.
The Seated Backbend
The first exercise we’re going to go over is the seated backbend. This stretch can assist with lower back stiffness. To start, sit on the edge of a chair. Place your hands on your lower back and keep your feet flat on the floor. Now, push strongly on your lower back and take a deep breath. As you arch your back, slowly exhale and look up toward the sky. Repeat this stretch up to five times.
The next exercise is the seated cat-cow. This stretch helps loosen up your back and core and strengthens the muscles in those areas. First, keep your feet on the floor, with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Place your palms on your thighs, pointing your fingers toward each other. Inhale slowly.
Then, similarly to the last stretch, arch your spine and look up to the sky as you exhale. After, inhale again and roll your shoulders forward, as if you were raising your belly button up to your spine. When you exhale, reverse this motion, still looking up but rolling your shoulder backward.
Every person has two SI joints in their body. For some, though, these joints can cause considerable pain. If you’ve been feeling pain consistently for even just a few days, you may benefit greatly from following these tips.
Discomfort and pain in the SI joints can negatively affect your day-to-day life, everywhere from having to sit down in an office at work to even just sitting down to watch TV at home. If this sounds like you, address these issues immediately. Waiting to treat your pain will only cause it to become worse.
You don’t have to keep suffering. Find out what the cause of your pain is, and start taking the right steps to nurture your SI joints. Take control of your body today and start working toward a painless future.
Here at all33, we are committed to providing the most quality, comfortable chairs on the market. Our chairs are backed by a team of experts and are proven to promote good posture, flexibility, blood flow, oxygen flow and provide relief from shoulder and neck strain.
Unlike most chairs, our chairs are slouch-proof, designed to fit your spine perfectly, and allow for a seated position that doesn’t hurt your back. Our Sit In Motion® technology makes our chairs the only ones in the world that allow for natural movement of the pelvis and back. In essence, all chairs are made to keep your pelvis and back stiff. Not ours, though!