Originally published November 5, 2014 at Yogamattes blog.
[SI joint injury frequently intersects with other causes of low back pain, such as bulging discs, arthritis, and muscular strains; these guidelines are also appropriate for injuries to low back, pelvis, & hips.]
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The goal for practice should be to increase body awareness, maintain healthy range of motion, and receive maximum health benefits without exacerbating the existing injury. A consistent, mindful practice is key.
Flexibility is not the goal – mobility without pain is the goal. Flexibility is part of the problem. You want strength and stability in the SI joint – not flexibility. Use yoga to strengthen the muscles that support the pelvic region and the entire core, so the ligaments of the SI can heal and do not get re-injured. Remember it takes a long time, and the area may always be prone to instability.
If any posture creates or exacerbates pain in the affected area (SI area: hip, pelvis, lower back), skip the posture! It is not worth it to risk re-injuring or stressing the injured area.
Injury or dysfunction in the SI joint can cause pain in one or both hips, as well as the lower back, or even referred pain in the legs. Student should use her awareness of pain as a guide for how far to go in each posture. The body is the teacher.