How to Get Relief From Sciatica, SI Joint and Deep Hip Pain

Mom Podcaster
by megan dahlman
April 25, 2023

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Do you ever get pain at your very low back and maybe even down into your hip, and sometimes it’s sharp, shooting pain…sometimes it’s deep throbbing pain. What might this be and what can you do about it to feel relief from the pain today?

A few years ago, I think it was the week of Thanksgiving, I was cleaning the house getting ready for company and Scott, my husband was outside, working in the yard. He was moving big log rounds, bending over to pick them up then turning and tossing them to the side.

In the middle of one of these lift, turn and toss moments, he felt a little pop and immediately had excruciating pain at his low back. He hobbled inside, nearly in tears, and explained to me what happened. Everything around the area instantly seized up, he could barely move and for the next 3 days he was almost bed ridden.

The good news, is that he’s married to me, and I know a thing or two about the body. He was able to point to exactly where he felt the pop and what movements hurt, and I could tell that he probably sprained his SI joint.

Ok, here’s a slightly different story, but they’re kind of related. I have a friend named Melinda that has always complained about hip pain. When she describes it to me, it’s sometimes throbbing, sometimes feels tingly, sometimes is just a dull ache in her entire glute area. It all started years ago when she was pregnant, and has never really gone away - 20 years later! She has just been living with it. What I think Melinda is dealing with is sciatica.

Slightly different things - both can be excruciating pain at your low back, your hip, and even down your leg.

If this is something similar to what you’ve dealt with, you start to feel desperate, and maybe even confused because it can feel like nothing you try works.

I’ve experienced SI Joint pain, and it’s horrible. You can’t sit without being in really bad pain. Needing to ride in the car for any amount of time is awful. And it ruins your life. You’re not able to be active like you want to be. You’re scared to move sometimes. Your motivation to do anything healthy goes down the drain. And the chronic stress of being in pain all the time really takes a toll.

If you’ve been confused and desperate, well you’re not at all alone.

  • SI Joint Dysfunction: Sacroiliac joint (SIJ) pain is one of the most common causes of low back pain, accounting for 15 to 30% of all cases. Although SIJ dysfunction accounts for a large portion of chronic low back pain prevalence, it is often overlooked or under diagnosed and subsequently under treated.
  • Sciatica: Sciatica is one of the most common, yet misunderstood, types of pain. As many as 40% of people will get it during their life, and it becomes more frequent as you age. "People who suffer from acute or chronic back pain tend to be more susceptible to sciatica.

A lot of this hip and low back pain go hand in hand, and many women I’ve trained through this issue didn’t realize what was actually the true source of their pain. They just felt achiness at their low back and occasionally deep hip pain and thought they might have a low back issue or even disc problems.

Let’s talk about what could be going on here and what you can do about it.

  • What is it?
  • SI Joint
  • If you have pain and achiness at your very low back, but it’s off to the side a bit, almost like it’s at the very top of your hip, this is often your Sacroiliac joint.
  • This is a joint that, like every joint, is held together with a ligament. It connects your pelvis to a spot at the base of your spine called your sacrum. When the ligament gets damaged, it’s called a sprain. (Verses a strain which is in your tendons.)
  • This joint, unlike a lot of joints on your body, isn’t designed to move very much at all. It’s supposed to only have about 2-4mm of movement in any direction. This is NOT a joint that’s supposed to be mobile or flexible or mobilized. You can sometimes pop it, but that’s not really something you should do a lot.
  • The pain you might feel at this joint is usually because too much movement is happening. (When you’re pregnant - joint laxity)
  • Sciatica is a little different
  • Many people with sciatica describe it as having an electric shooting down their hip, deep throbbing in their hip socket, and even just pain from their low back, down their hip and glutes and down into their leg
  • This is not a joint at all, it’s a nerve - your sciatic nerve. In fact, it’s the longest and thickest nerve in your body. It comes out of your spine off to the side right at your low back and sacrum, traveling down right behind that SI joint, through the muscles in your hip socket, and down the leg
  • It can be painful if it’s getting pinched, compressed and irritated any point of the way. Sometimes the nerve gets compressed right at the spine with a herniated or bulged disc, but often it’s getting compressed in the hip socket. Having really tense and inflamed deep hip muscles, like the piriformis muscle, can compress the nerve. You’ll hear me mention the piriformis muscle sometimes, this is one of those little hip muscles that the sciatic nerve travels through.
  • SI Joint dysfunction and Sciatica are not the same thing, but very often the reason you’re experiencing them is from the same kind of problem that’s exacerbating it all. You might have one or the other or both. You might even have your issue start with something and turn into something else because they’re all closely related.
  • What can you do about it? If you’re experiencing either SI joint pain, or sciatica, or you’re not sure… it’s just kind of in the general area, one day you feel it in your low back, another day you might feel it deep up in your hip, here are some simple things you can do for relief that will work 9 times out 10, especially if you do them consistently:
  • Get your hips level. A tipped or tilted pelvis will place torque on your SI joint, and may even pinch that nerve more.
  • Think symmetry. Don’t sit with your legs crossed, don’t stand with one hip cocked out to the side, don’t slouch to the side. Prop your legs with pillows while you sleep if you need to. (I talked about that back on episode 240)
  • Learn how to do pelvic tilts and play with it throughout the day to find the position that gives you the most relief.
  • Try not to sit for too long.
  • Stretch the right spots.
  • Hip flexors
  • Hamstrings
  • Hip rotators - that deep piriformis muscle
  • (Possibly nerve glides)
  • Strengthen
  • Glutes - A lot of that nerve compression is because your tiny hip muscles that surround your nerve are getting overworked because your glutes aren’t strong enough. Also, if your SI joint is the issue, surrounding it with more glute muscles will stabilize it. Bridges, clamshells, even hip hinges.
  • Deep abdominals - transverse abdominus and multifidus. Pelvic tilt + exhale, deadbugs, eventually planks and side planks.
  • Pelvic floor - a lot of your pelvic floor muscles attach on your femur, everything is connected. Incorporating pelvic floor engagement when you do your other core exercises.

If this is sounding familiar to you, it’s because it’s the PSF framework that I talk about a lot. Posture, strength, flexibility. If you want to get rid of this pain, it’s not enough to just fix your posture, it’s not enough to stretch, it’s not enough to do a bunch a strengthening work. You have to have it all. But when you do it all, the issue and the pain seems to almost magically resolve.

The good news is that even if the sciatica issue is stemming from a bulging or herniated disc at your low back, these methods will help with that, too. I’ve literally seen MRI’s of herniated discs that have reduced to near normal levels with the right type of training.

It might seem like it, but it’s not a miracle… it’s good training that works.

Proof of Transformation

All of this reminds me of Caroline, a mom that had been experiencing deep hip socket pain and tingling down her leg for years, ever since she had babies. When she was pregnant and through labor and delivery, her SI Joint relaxed and her sciatic nerve had a lot of pressure placed on it, and it never went back. She suffered with it for years.

It had gotten so bad that she couldn’t put her pants on without sitting down, just because she couldn’t stand on one leg the pain would be so bad.

But I want you to listen to this…

That’s so awesome, right? I’m only sharing that with you to let you know that there’s hope - you don’t have to suffer any more if this is something that’s been bothering you for a long time or even a short time.

It’s time to say goodbye to that pain!

Ok, to wrap up I always like to leave you with one simple action step that you can put into place TODAY. And if you have any of the kind of deep hip pain or low back pain that I’ve been describing, I don’t want you to feel like you have to do something big, and scary and drastic to get rid of it. Just start paying attention to your pelvis as you go about the day, and start looking into ways that you can begin strengthening your core like I mentioned. If you want something that’s EASY and removes all of the guesswork, just do my 5 Day Core Tune up with me - it’s entirely free and you have nothing to lose.

More Resources & Links

FREE 5-Day Core Tune Up - A free mini-course to dramatically improve your functional core strength, create better alignment, and relieve back and hip pain for good!

Megan’s complete Back and Hip Fix program to dramatically reduce your back and hip pain and restore your confidence in just 30 days!

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Trainer, nutrition coach, and Christian mom — in a culture that’s obsessed with “gym-selfies” and a number on the scale, I’m passionate about helping moms discover what it feels like to actually love their bodies and thrive in them.
Read More About Megan
Hi! I’m Megan.
Self-Care Simplified is for Christian moms that want to be equipped and encouraged to take simple steps towards the healthy life you want for yourself and the people you love.
Be sure to subscribe to Self-Care Simplified wherever you listen to your favorite podcast.
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Trainer, nutrition coach, and Christian mom — in a culture that’s obsessed with “gym-selfies” and a number on the scale, I’m passionate about helping moms discover what it feels like to actually love their bodies and thrive in them.
Read More About Megan
Hi! I’m Megan.
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Self-Care Simplified is for Christian moms that want to be equipped and encouraged to take simple steps towards the healthy life you want for yourself and the people you love.
Be sure to subscribe to Self-Care Simplified wherever you listen to your favorite podcast.
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