Jessica Bento, Physical Therapist (Creator DVRT Restoration Certification, DVRT Rx Shoulder, Knees, Pelvic Control, & Gait Courses)
I am sure most reading this has experienced at one time in their life that nagging pain one side of the low back or the SI joint. It might even feel that your pelvis is just “off” or “stuck.” It’s common and I would get people in the clinic all the time with that complaint.
As a young therapist I would do all sorts of manual manipulation to get the low and pelvis to loosen up, then of course, lots and lots of manual stretching for the lower body. They would feel better for a bit but it never lasted and became much more of a chronic issue.
I wish I knew better but like the Maya Angelou quote, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better do better.”
I know better now.
When it comes to the SI joint, the pain is typically caused by lumbar instability or actual SI joint instability as well as decreased pelvic and core stability. There might also be some hip mobility issues occurring as well. So all the stretching and manual therapy in the world isn’t really going to “fix” the problem.
This issue could be caused by a range of things like, sports, inactivity, injury, you name it. The key is to address it in an active way.
What does active mean? Well, when I said I was doing all sort of manual manipulation and stretches to my patients, that was very passive, meaning my patient wasn’t doing anything, I was.
The key is to get your body moving, moving correctly in a coordinated and efficient way, and to “retrain” those muscles of the core and pelvis to they can proved the stability or mobility that is needed to relieve the SI joint pain. If you aren’t doing the movements your body is not learning and cementing anything.
Our focus will be mainly on stability as mentioned above.
Stability is more related to motor control which means to the timing and sequencing of muscles during an action. That is why sometimes people get down on “core training” because we don’t have a good universal way of identifying core strength and core stability training.
This quote sums it up well…
“The core musculature is composed of 29 pairs of muscles that support the lumbo- pelvic-hip complex. These muscles help to stabilize the spine, pelvis, and kinetic chain during functional movements. When the system works efficiently, the result is appropriate distribution of forces; optimal control and efficiency of movement; adequate absorption of ground-impact forces; and an absence of excessive compressive, translation, or shearing forces on the joints of the kinetic chain.”
These DVRT Ultimate Sandbag exercises are effective examples of good core stability for pelvic alignment because we are using the Ultimate Sandbag to both give feedback on how the core muscles should work together as well as teaching the core how to function properly as we introduce movement. Good stability training overall should encourage wanted movement from areas we want to move (i.e. our legs) and resist unwanted movement (pelvic or excessive spinal motion during these drills).
These work well because of how I can create specific tension by pulling the Ultimate Sandbag apart, integrating my grip (which connects our lats/core), and the load the USB uses to give feedback to my body. That is why when people ask me, “can I just use something else in my gym?” my answer is NO! Well, I mean you COULD, but it wouldn’t be nearly as effective and isn’t getting the best result (sometimes the wrong tool creates the opposite effect because we push in and not pull apart the weight or others don’t have the proper shoulder width) what we are trying to achieve?
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These could easily be a great warmup prior to your workout, or something you do daily to help relieve that discomfort and really cement good movement.
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