If you’re unlucky enough to catch malaria, doctors will tell you that even though it’s been treated, “recrudescence is possible”. You know what they’re like, these quacks – what they tell you doesn’t sound that bad until you grasp its full meaning, which is:
It’s in your body. It might come back.
It’s even likely to come back.
SI joint pain is a bit the same. Once the pain is there (we discussed what it feels like and the reasons for it here), we’re not talking about curing it. We’re merely talking about managing it. That doesn’t mean you won’t be pain-free. But it does mean that if you don’t practise mindfully, it will come back. Or worse: never go away.
Why? Because all the reasons why you’ve got it in the first place are still there: hyper-mobile joints, for example. The tendency to push (force?) too much. Or both. You’re kind of unlucky if nature permitted you a range of movement that’s out of reach for others. In addition to the image in the previous post, I inserted another one to clarify. What looks like white fibres (fibrous ligaments, in fact) is where the pain comes from if you overstretch them. This is where the healing needs to take place.
No, it’s not fair that this is mainly affecting hyper-mobile people, but there’s something you can do about it. Something you must do about it. Because if you don’t, at one point you won’t even be able to turn around in bed because it’s too painful. This is not an exaggeration, promise.
Because you won’t print this page and read through paragraph after paragraph while twisting and turning on your mat, I kept it to short, easy to read bullet-points.
What to do (and NOT to do) if you have SI joint pain:
1) Practise mindfully. Whichever posture you’re in, you have to have this “snug” feeling in the area of the pelvis. Any sort of pinching or twitching sensation is a big STOP sign.
2) The SI joint works like a hub that transmits force. Get used to thinking of sacrum and pelvis as ONE entity rather than separate joints helps to maintain stability. We’re all about stabilizing hyper-mobile structures here!
3) Forget about certain postures for a while – namely e-v-e-r-y-thing that opens the hip joints using the SI joints as leverage (people do this because the hip joints won’t allow them to go further). Everything that prompts to move the sacrum and ilium in opposite directions. Forget these deep, one-sided forward bends. At least for the moment.
4) Get used to the idea that you will need to adapt your practice, no matter what. (I know, Ashtangis won’t like that.)
5) Women need to be careful because hormonal changes during the cycle can cause laxity in the ligaments – so watch yourself carefully. The alarm bells should ring if you’re suddenly able to do something that’s not normally available to you.
6) Accept your physical limitations. We don’t all run the 100 metres in under ten seconds. Why should we all have to be able to sit in Padmasana?
And, most importantly: ENJOY your practice, listen to your body, and give it time to heal itself. :)