Elliptical Trainers & Sacroiliac Pain


The elliptical trainer is a very effective tool for building cardiovascular fitness and leg endurance. Using the elliptical machine properly requires a large amount of motion in the sacroiliac joints and hips. Sacroiliac joint pain and injury from the elliptical machine occurs from overuse, incorrect technique, muscle weakness, and muscle inflexibility. Utilize smart training principles to prevent pain from occurring and limiting your exercise fun and progress.


The Ohio State University Medical Center states, "Your sacroiliac joint is where your sacrum joins your hipbone, also called your pelvis or ilium." The sacrum is located between your lumbar spine and tailbone, while the ilium is the upper part of the pelvis. The sacroiliac joints are encased and strengthened by strong connective tissue called ligaments. Numerous muscles connect to the sacrum and ilium to provide motion to the hips and sacroiliac joint.


Sacroiliac joint pain from using the elliptical machine is described as a dull, deep, ache located directly over the joint. It usually occurs from ligamentous sprain and/or strain of the muscles that move the joint. The pain can affect one side or both, and usually begins with an insidious onset only to progressively worsen.


The elliptical trainer is a relatively simple machine making over-zealousness quite easy. When you begin using an elliptical machine start at a level appropriate for your with a short distance and light resistance. Gradually increase training volume and intensity in small increments. Pay extra attention to how your body feels and responses before, during, and after exercising to avoid overuse injuries and pain.


Perform stretching and strengthening exercises to prevent and limit the progression of sacroiliac joint pain. Stretches such as the supine piriformis figure four stretch and the side lying piriformis stretch will lessen muscle tension and ease pressure on the sacroiliac joints. Strengthen your gluteal, hip and thigh muscles with squats and lunges and develop stability, strength and endurance in your core muscles by using the fitball, balance ball and kettlebells. Strong hip, thigh and core muscles will stabilize the spine and sacroiliac joints and lower your risk of injury.


If pain in your sacroiliac joint should begin, apply ice immediately. Cold therapy for 20 minutes over the painful area helps lessens pain and swelling. To ease stress on the sacroiliac joints, the department of Rehabilitation Services at the Ohio State University Medical Center recommends avoiding postures that put uneven weight on one side. These positions include: Crossing your legs, standing on one leg and resting your weight on one hip while seated.

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