Tips on Sleeping With SI Dysfunction

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The sacroiliac (SI) joint connects your pelvis to your spine. This joint plays a crucial role in shock absorption, and as such, can easily become injured. Lower back pain is a common symptom of SI dysfunction, including pain when turning over in bed and sleeping. Rest easier with SI pain by supporting your spine, using proper body mechanics, performing daily exercises and taking anti-inflammation medication.

Spine Support

  • Support your spine to sleep comfortably. SI dysfunction is exacerbated by poor spinal alignment and lack of lower back support. Therefore, invest in some good quality cervical and lumbar support pillows. Never sleep with more than one pillow under your head, as this throws off the neck alignment and thus the rest of the spine. On the other hand, using a cervical support places the rest of your back into proper position. When sleeping on your back or side, also use a lumbar support or small towel roll under the curve of your back for support. Raising your feet with one or two pillows under your lower legs and knees relieves the pressure on the SI joint. And if you're a stomach-sleeper, consider switching positions: the lack of support in this position for your low back and SI often leads to increased pain.

Body Mechanics

  • Use proper body mechanics in bed to keep SI pain in check. When getting into bed, first sit on the edge. Then, slowly lower yourself into a side-lying position, keeping knees bent. Next, log roll from your side onto your back, making sure not to twist any portion of your spine. Finally, straighten your legs over the top of supportive pillows. Remember to use these same body mechanics when rolling onto your side or getting out of bed, since quick twisting motions can exacerbate SI pain. Also, avoid prolonged sitting and crossing your legs while sitting during the day to reduce the chance of irritation.

Other Tips

  • Other tips for sleeping with SI Dysfunction include performing exercises regularly and taking anti-inflammatories during flare-ups. Visit a physical therapist to learn self-mobilizations and other exercises geared at treating your SI dysfunction and preventing future issues. Perform the exercises one to two times per day, or at your PT's orders. Have your PT show you how to use an SI-belt, which supports your joints and reduces pain. For periods of severe pain, take up to 800 mg of ibuprofen about half an hour before bed. Also, eat foods with natural anti-inflammatory properties, like Omega-3 fatty acids and bromelain. Finally, a heating pad set on low applied to the lower back alleviates pain for some people.

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