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One of the side effects of all the sitting that everybody does these days is low back pain.

When you sit at your desk or drive hours in your car every day, your sacrum and your sacroiliac joint can become stuck.

What is your sacrum?

Your sacrum is the triangular-shaped bone at the base of your spine formed from fused vertebrae and situated between the two hipbones of your pelvis. 

And what is your sacroiliac joint?

Your sacroiliac joint or SI joint is the joint between the sacrum and the ilium of your pelvis. 

How can you tell if your SI joint is stuck?

  1. Get a friend to stand behind you.
  2. Have the friend put their thumbs vertically on your fifth lumbar vertebrae.
  3. Now lift one knee up.
  4. If you lift your knee up and your friend’s thumb on the same side as your knee does not move, your sacroiliac joint is stuck.

What are the side effects of a stuck SI joint?

  1. You have low back pain.
  2. It may hurt to walk, let alone go to the gym and do any form of exercise.
  3. You have very poor balance. I generally don’t teach yoga  balance poses until I know your SI joint is moving.
  4. Frequently your pain will be on one side of your lower back, as one side may be stuck and the other side moving, but it can also be bilateral.
  5. You may experience a sharp pain in your lower back when you get out of a chair.

The Don Tigny mobilization that I am demonstrating in this video is the first gentle exercise you can do when you have low back pain.

It’s great to do first thing in the morning when you are lying in bed.

You can also get out of your bed and lie on the floor to begin.

Here’s how to perform the Don Tigny mobilization:

  1. Lie on your back with bent knees. If your SI joint is stuck, it may hurt to lie on your back with your legs straight out in front of you, so I recommend you start with both knees bent.
  2. Straighten one leg and keep the other knee bent.
  3. Make sure the foot of your bent knee is as wide as your hip bones.
  4. Relax.
  5. Now gently press the bent knee forward.
  6. Your hip of the same side will come barely off the floor – say 1/4 to 1/2 an inch.
  7. Breathe while you are doing this.
  8. I recommend you inhale as you lift, then exhale and relax as you lower your hip.
  9. Continue 1 minute.
  10. Then bend both knees to transition and repeat 1 minute on the other side.

Many people are accustomed to practicing exercise that is hard and fast.

This mobilization is the opposite.

You want to move so slowly and easily that you can breathe deeply, relax completely and sneak past your pain.

The way I like to explain the Don Tigny is this.

If you go to a door frame that is stuck due to a heavy rain and you pull on the door really hard, the door just sticks harder.

However, if you stand there patiently and wiggle the door, it becomes unstuck more quickly.

This exercise is the first exercise I recommend in the series of five movements I recommend to heal your low back pain. 

To read a summary of all the exercises, please visit this link.

Continue on to the next blog to read about the second exercise.

What is healing? You can heal your low back pain if you give yourself permission to get your SI joint moving.