As a Pilates Teacher, I continue to be amazed by the human body and the uniqueness of each individual client that I teach. Clients with a similar problem (e.g. back pain) may respond differently to the same movement.  It comes down to the real cause of the problem – however, this is not an easy topic.

Recently I attended a course on joint mobilization and acquired a better awareness of the SI (sacro-iliac) joint. Previously, I was unaware that SI joints can lead to back pain. I was more aware of back pain due to (commonly known) disc injuries. Quote “25% of clients with lower back pain suffer as a result of SI joint related problem”.

Here are pictures of the SI Joints:


The SI joint is a joint between the sacrum and the pelvic bone (ilium), and the sacrum connects the pelvis to the spine. There are strong ligaments at the SI joints that stabilize the sacrum – e.g. preventing the top of the sacrum from tilting downward – and thus helps to stabilize the spine. These ligaments prevent excessive anterior or posterior tilt of the pelvis and provides a self-locking mechanism which allows us to walk, bracing the SI joint on one side as weight is transferred from one leg to other.

So what happens when a person is hyperlordotic or has excessive anterior tilt of the pelvis? The SI joint ligaments are stretched and overtime the SI joints become unstable and the self-locking mechanism is impaired, leading to further overstretching of the ligaments, which may then trigger the pain receptors. Ligaments are fibrous tissue that connect bone to bone and they keep joints stable. However, when they are overstretched, they can elicit pain.

Alternatively, an unstable SI joint is prone to injury. For example, the person might be walking down the stairs, didn’t notice the last step and jam the joint. This locks the SI joint in a misaligned position. This may not immediately show up as pain but over time it could lead to other problems in the lower spine.

As cited by doctors, when a person has pain caused by SI joint instability he or she is unable to sustain any one position (sitting, standing, walking) for prolonged periods.

For a Pilates Teacher, the focus is on lower back and pelvis stabilization and posture correction.

As a Pilates Teacher, I appreciate very much the benefits of percusssive breathing as taught by master Pilates Teacher Ron Fletcher. It is one of the techniques that I emphasize when teaching clients on lower back and pelvis stabilization.

Written by LayYong


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