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Monday, February 3, 2014

A Pain in the ... Sacroiliac Joints

Actually, they ARE where the arse is *lol*

So I took a couple of therapeutic yoga classes over the weekend but, ironically, I'd managed to (albeit mildly) injure myself. Thinking back, I think there was one particular "pose" that set off my lower back pain. The instructors asked us to place a block on either side of the spine/lower back (above the sacrum) before lying on top of them, the gap between the two blocks is where the spine was. It felt great at the time but after awhile my legs started to shake for some reasons. Then after the class, my lower back just felt kinda sore. Later on still, I felt there was slight swelling in my left sacroiliac joint area. Coupled with all the twisting, I think I'd somehow over stretched the SI joints. Anyway, I did some research and discovered many articles written about them ~ and how these joints can become hyper-mobilised (like, not good). Below is what I found on one web site: 

"The SI joints are unique in the body in that they are stabilised only by ligaments. If you have a look at the triangular shaped sacrum you can see that gravity is trying to drive this bone into the hip bones and drive them apart.Very strong ligaments usually keep this movement in check but in the event of an injury, or wear and tear over time, these ligaments can begin to fail and become inflamed. When ligaments fail, they take far longer than muscles to repair due to their relatively poor blood supply. It is not unusual for a serious SI joint injury to take up-to 6 weeks to settle down."

Note where the red bits are and ask yourself: how many times have you felt pain in that region??? I also found another article that explains why some yoga poses might trigger the discomfort and that we should be mindful about our practice...

Dr. Robin Armstrong wrote: "There are a few ways you can diminish the shearing force across the SI in standing poses. The first is to take a slightly wider stance, opening your feet to hip width (rather than heel to arch or heel to heel). This enables your pelvis to comfortably square forward. Another option is to keep the feet as they are and simply allow your pelvis to be slightly open to the side of your mat. That's right, let go of the desire to perfectly square your pelvis forward. Instead, imagine the hip bone in its socket, outwardly rotating. Keeping that rotation, tuck the tailbone under slightly, creating room in the front of the hip. You may find that this provides more freedom of movement and may naturally square your hips further. In standing and seated twists, be sure to engage the muscles of the pelvic floor (mula bandha) to support the SI joint before twisting.
  "When we step back for a moment and acknowledge the true purpose of our yoga practice, suddenly trying to make our bodies fit a mold doesn't make much sense. Being more forgiving and accepting of our bodies limitations enables us to go much deeper into our yoga practice and experience the joy of yoga safely."

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