Now that I actually knew what the problem was, and had begun to familiarize myself with the idea of working out in a pool, the next step was for me to pay careful attention to which movements and activities outside of the pool were the most likely to make my SI joints lock up.
The SI joint, in my experience, is just such a strange joint. There are such differences in joint shape from one individual to another– not to mention differences in the type of injury– that what I found made my joints worse might not be the same for you.
In general, I found that the worst possible thing I could do was to perform any sort of a twisting motion. That, more than anything else, would be guaranteed to make one of my SIJ’s lock almost instantly.
Another thing was bending over…. particularly if I had to bend and twist at the same time, such as reaching in to grab something in the corner of a bottom cabinet. Guaranteed to throw my SIJ’s off every time.
Interestingly, something that almost never affected my SIJ’s negatively was to walk in a straight line, on flat ground.
I found that on a good day, sometimes I’d be able to walk for 30 minutes or more, if I was walking on relatively flat ground and was able to go at my own pace. For example, there was an arboretum close to my house with smooth, landscaped paths. I would go on weekday afternoons when there was hardly anyone else there, and almost feel as if I had no problems.
On the other hand, I quickly learned that I couldn’t last 5 minutes in a crowded supermarket without one of my SIJ’s locking up, because of all the turning and twisting I had to do to navigate through the crowded aisles.
This goes against how we generally think about the body and endurance. We tend to think that the “more” we do something, especially in terms of exercise/cardio/calories burned, the harder it will be on our body.
While this may be true in terms of general fatigue, I never found it to be the case with the SI joint.
With the SI joint, it all comes down to joint mechanics. What is the joint supposed to be doing, in order to be functioning normally, and what type of injury is causing it to function abnormally?
It’s not about your overall fitness level as a person– it is purely about what’s going on in that joint.
Over time, I started to learn what to avoid. I had to avoid crowded places; I had to move slowly and gingerly doing things like climbing into someone’s car.
And sometimes, other people didn’t understand or got annoyed at me (more on that later).
But it was worth it, because it was the only way for me to begin to take back control over my own life.
To continue on: Key Point #4: Muscular Strength vs. Endurance