Joined: 23 Sep 2006
|Posted: Thu Jan 02, 2020 2:42 am Post subject: Sacroiliac Joint arthritis
|I recently received the following questions:
Iâ€™m 66. I discovered yin yoga on Gaia last June. My right hip area had been hurting to the point of debilitating. I felt significant relief after each session lasting up to 4 hrs. An X-ray showed significant arthritis of the R SI joint, but nowhere else. I opted for an injection of steroids in the region and my pain level has been greatly improved. Now my question is - how should I proceed with yin yoga. Everyday or only occasional? Focus on hips or spine? Thank you, Kathy
I am not a doctor, nor a physiotherapist, nor can I work with you one-on-one. So, please take everything I offer with many grains of salt. They are suggestions for you to test out, not prescriptions guaranteed to help you.
I am happy to hear that the steroid injections worked for you, but as you know, steroids are not a cure for arthritis, but they can certainly help with managing symptoms for a while. Eventually the body starts to ignore the cortisone and you may be back to where you started. On the other hand, often people with arthritis that shows up in imaging scan donâ€™t have any pain. There is not a direct correlation between boney changes in the body and pain, although, to be sure, sometimes there is. What is known is â€” any injured area still needs some exercise. To do nothing will make matters worse, even though it is easy to do too much now, which also can make things worse. I have talked about this a lot in the Forum and here is one post talking about how to work with a hip injury. (Here is another post from a woman with SIJ pain, but healthy in all other regards.)
Given all that, Yin Yoga for the hips could be a good idea as long as you 1) test a little, rest a little, see what is working; 2) start with shorter holds in the postures, maybe 1~3 minutes, and only slowly extend the times if that seems appropriate; 3) do not try to increase range of motion, just go to where there is some resistance and back off a little from there. Of course, since your spine seems okay, you can do a full spinal practice any time, but if the practice includes hip stresses, then follow the above guidelines.
Which postures? Easy ones, like Butterfly (perhaps Reclining Butterfly to start?) with props supporting the knees; Half Butterfly; Saddle on blocks with the feet slightly wider than your hips. Eventually, to get some extension into the hips, you may want to add some easy lunges (Dragons or Swans) but I would suggest starting with Deer pose first and over time work the back leg further away/straighter. This will also give you some internal rotation as well. Finally, while it can be fine to do Yin Yoga everyday, given your situation, I would reduce the frequency of practice to every second or third day, at least to start. See how it goes.
As always, practice with intention and attention.
ps - You may find this article helpful. It does cite a lot of science supporting the idea of yoga (in general) being helpful in arthritis situations.