So I have been getting a lot of requests lately to share more information about my exercise routine. This is something I’m definitely planning to expand more on in the future!
The way my blog has always worked is that I try to get basic concepts up there as fast as possible– and then fill in more of the specifics later. (Does that make sense?).
Before I go on, I want to let you know that my thinking has changed: I no longer think aquatic exercise is the only way to rehab this injury.
I still think it’s a completely amazing thing, and when done under the right circumstances, can offer you a lot of benefits that land exercise can not. (For more on these awesome benefits, you can check out my Aquatic Therapy page!). However, I’ve learned a lot since I first started writing my blog, and I now believe there are a lot more possibilities for how to rehab this issue.
As a result of everything I’ve been through in the past year– dealing with mast cell activation syndrome and learning that I have a genetic hypermobility condition— I’ve also been learning more and more about different ways to treat SI joint dysfunction. Because SI joint issues are common among the hypermobile community, it turns out that many practitioners who deal with hypermobility are experienced in dealing with them.
I’ve learned a lot, especially, from Muldowney Physical Therapy in Rhode Island. They’ve shown me what a huge difference it can make to start strengthening with isometric exercises that take a lot of the strain off of the SI joint ligaments, and yet still allow you to build muscle.
The folks at Muldowney are able to help people with really severe health conditions, who aren’t able to access a pool (even during a non-pandemic!) to stabilize their pelvis. This has really expanded my thinking, which is great!
I am so grateful that I found Muldowney, as they have really opened up my thinking on this. It’s bittersweet, because I think my saga would have been a lot shorter if I’d found them years ago. But I try to look at it like, well at least having gone through all of this the hard way myself, it certainly puts me in a better position to know what all of you are dealing with.
So, if you are not able to get to a pool right now, please do not worry.
I personally have not been to an indoor pool since this past winter, and have been able to incorporate everything I know now into a totally land-based program that has still allowed me to maintain my progress.
I’ve had different phases of what I’ve been comfortable with (for obvious reasons!). So I had a routine going for a few months there during which I literally did not leave my apartment, but still did full workouts.
It would not be right to say that this was a silver lining of the pandemic, obviously. I don’t think think that’s fair or sensitive to say. But I would like to tell you that what I’ve taken from the past few months, actually, is that it is possible to come up with an extremely conservative exercise plan that should still be able to get you going.
Of course, the purpose of the information on my blog is not to replace medical advice. Instead, it’s actually to help you find it. So any info I give out about my exercise recommendations here, it’s really meant for you to take to your own physical therapist to ensure you’re doing it properly.
Currently, I’m starting to go on outdoor hikes again, and to do some aquatic workouts outdoors, as I can– while maintaining social distance, of course. (By the way, this is a really great article that helped me determine my own plans for how to exercise in outdoor public spaces).
So, my takeaway from everything I’ve really been through recently is that there are different levels at which you can start strengthening, and different ways you can progress.
At the very beginning level, it should be possible to progress and even get a potentially decent workout in, even without leaving your house.
In the future, I’ll be sharing more about my exercise recommendations– on land and in the water!
And for now, to get started:
Super gentle, beginning level exercise routine:
- Gentle warm-up
- Isometric glute squeezes
- Isometric TA contractions/additional core exercises
- Gentle cool-down
- Gentle warm-up
- TYI exercises
- (a few other rotator cuff exercises I couldn’t find a video of)
- Gentle cool-down
There are variations/progressions for all of these exercises, however I wanted to give you a sample of something the most basic.
What I love about these exercises is that your SI joints get to stay in a very neutral position.
I use my bed for some of these, and for others I use my stretching table:
So you can see how this routine really has a minimal impact on the SI joints. You’re either lying face up or face down. Your with weight is fairly evenly balanced and symmetrical, and you’re not actually moving your pelvis very much at all (though you are working your muscles!).
I hope this helps to give you an idea.
I’ll definitely be sharing more of the specifics– and some of the progressions to make these exercises more challenging– in the future! (This was the entry-level version).
If you’d like to check in and get my personal thoughts on your situation, I am now offering coaching and strategy calls– you can find out more about what I offer here.