How to Lose Weight With SI Joint Pain

SI joint pain, also known as sacroilic joint pain, is a common cause of low back pain. SI joint pain is a frustrating condition that is generally caused by abnormal motion in the sacroiliac joint. The SI joint becomes hypomobile (stuck) or hypermobile (moving too much) typically resulting in inflammation of the joint. Other factors such as arthritis, pregnancy and childbirth, uneven leg length, muscle imbalances, an injury, or excess weight can also contribute to SI joint pain. However, the good news is it can be treated and you can still achieve your weight loss goals while relieving your SI joint pain.

Weight Loss Equation

The weight loss equation is simple: as long as you burn more calories than you consume on a regular basis you will lose weight. Weight gain happens over months and years, not overnight -- and the same will be true for weight loss. Losing weight should be gradual. Research shows that the most effective recipe for successful weight loss, and long-term maintenance, is a combination of diet and exercise. One pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories. Therefore, if you create a caloric deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day, this will result in an approximate 1- to 2-pound weight loss each week.

Change Your Diet

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While your exercise program may be temporarily affected by your SI joint pain, your diet can be greatly improved during this time. Fueling your body with healthier foods will not only help your weight loss but possibly reduce your pain. Fill up on nutrient dense foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables. Your body functions best when you provide it with high quality foods. Lean proteins such as chicken and fish, vegetarian meat substitutes, whole grains, and low fat dairy products should also make up the foundation of your diet. Eat every two to four hours and drink adequate water.

Aerobic Exercise

If your SI joint pain is severe, or if symptoms continue to persist, it's highly recommended you see your physician to rule out any disc damage before beginning an exercise program. You want to stay as active as possible. Not only does being active help burn extra calories needed for weight loss, but it also helps avoid further muscle weakening which can contribute to added pain. Increase activities of daily living and low impact aerobic activities such as walking, swimming, water aerobics and cycling. Once pain free while doing simple activities you can start adding in corrective exercise techniques, including some basic Pilates core exercises, kneeling quadraped, and gentle stretches such as the knee to chest stretch to help correct any muscular imbalances that may be contributing to your SI joint dysfunction.

Core Stability

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With any lower back injury, core stability work is an absolute must. A weak core is a major contributor to lower back issues. Strengthening the core, including all muscles surrounding the abdomen and back will help decrease pain, prevent further injury, and enhance performance in every day life. Your core provides a solid base for you to move from. If this base is weak you cannot function optimally and your body becomes more vulnerable to injury. Pilates offers an effective way to train core stability and is highly recommended for anyone with lower back, or SI joint pain.

Lifestyle Choices

Although SI joint pain is annoying it does not have to interfere with your weight loss goals. In fact, decreasing your weight could have a positive effect on your symptoms. Stay as active as possible, pay attention to what you are choosing to put in your mouth, and commit to making small and gradual lifestyle changes. Remember, weight loss is a journey not a race.