How to Relieve SI Joint Pain with Your Breath and the Pilates Roll Down

How to Relieve SI Joint Pain with Your Breath and the Pilates Roll Down

Sydney Video Training 7 Comments

A common cause of sacroiliac joint dysfunction is a lack of movement and one of the most powerful, yet overlooked tools for relieving back and SI (sacroiliac) joint pain is your breath. A common cause of sacroiliac joint dysfunction is a lack of movement. When you inhale and exhale, this innate action ideally sets off a series of events inside your body that mobilizes and nourishes your spine and keeps your back flexible.

In our culture, shallow breathing has become an all-too-common habit for many and is the real source of many types of common pains, including neck pain, back pain, headaches, anxiety and SI joint pain, to name just a few.

A few years back, I posted a series of training videos demonstrating some of the best breathing exercises for fine-tuning larger movements of the body, for example, Pilates roll-downs and bridges, and this was how I focused the series. The exercises taught in this series also happen to be fantastic for relieving SI joint pain.

I could show you a hundred different stretches for your back and hips, but I can’t reiterate enough how important it is for the health of your spine to learn and practice basic, foundational breathing. Learning how to breath better is critical to basic spinal health.

The following two videos demonstrate the most powerful exercise I learned from Marie-José Blom for maintaining and regaining the health of your spine and SI joint.

This is my go to exercise for folks who come into the studio with sacral and low-back pain.

It may seem subtle at first, but I encourage you to give it a try. And, if you’re currently experiencing SI discomfort and/or back pain, I really encourage you to try this exercise daily for the next two weeks and see what happens.

(Note that, in the first video, the actual exercise starts at around 2:35 so feel free to jump ahead.)





If you have any questions or feedback I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

See you in the studio,

About the Author


Hi, I'm Sydney and I'm a Restorative Movement Specialist here at Pilates Tonic. My goal is to empower you with tools to connect and live in your body in new and better ways.I'm a passionate advocate for wellness through optimally aligned movement and I look forward to designing a customized alignment and movement program just for you! If you want to find out more, just give me a call at 423.702.5233, or email me at See you in the studio!

Comments 7

  1. Simple workouts. excercise for essential bone movements will help a lot in overcoming joint pains. Thanks for posting such informative article. Hope to see more.

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  2. I love your videos! I’m just discovering pilates so I really need the detail you offer. I am still in my lower back and your videos are helping me understand how to incorporate the abs to release the lower back….. I would suggest , however, that the fellow who does the demo wear a more fitted shirt and pants so I can see more clearly the moves his body is making when you are articulating the movement he is demonstrating. Keep them coming….

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  3. Hi Sydney,

    Your explanation of nutation/counternutation associated with the breathing in your first video confuses me. I’ve learnt the pelvic floor counternutate the sacrum while spinae erectors nutate it. Considering this, with a diaphragmatic breathing, I understand the sacrum should counternutate on the exhalation (due to the natural slight contraction of the pelvic floor). You describe the reverse. Could you shed light on this for me please? Thanks a lot!

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      Hi Lucie, Since the coccyx is embedded in the posterior pelvic floor, I could see how one might approach movement of the sacrum via the pelvic floor.

      That said, the natural movement of the sacrum is driven by the diaphragm. It’s this movement many people are missing, which certainly could have something to do with a muscle/s around the sacrum.

      Give the exercise in the first video a try and see how it feels to sense the sacral base moving posterior (counternutating) as you inhale,and the sacral base moving anteriorly(nutating) as you exhale.

      The only effort you need for this, is that of your inhale and exhale, no any additional muscular contraction required. I’d love to hear how it goes! Thanks for your question.

  4. Thank you for your quick reply! I’ll try the exercice and have a look at the reference you mentionned. It’s a very interesting topic!

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