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April 22, 2014

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Who hurts herself in the sacrum you ask? I do.

As a fellow runner, I totally appreciate your love of running. Sadly for me, my running life is over now; my only enjoyment of running anymore is second hand through your posts, my daughter's life, my husband's runs.

I could tell you I wish I'd never run, and that my SI pain would have been better had I not run so much in my 20s, 30s & 40s. That would be wrong, though. Running gave me great joy and made it easier for everyone to live with me, I'm sure. And it wasn't like I was logging so many miles - I learned at age 30 what my limit was (25 miles per week max) and never went above that. At the end of my running life I was clocking around 15 miles per week.

So, SI pain.....what to do? Focus on core strength, especially around the pelvic girdle. STRETCH YOUR HAMSTRINGS AND PSOAS. Often. Learn about piriformis syndrome (http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/piriformis-syndrome-causes-symptoms-treatments) and do the stretches to keep your glutes from seizing hold of your SI joint.

I quit running for good when I tore my hamstring at the origin during a 5K race, around age 47. I've had many imaging studies of my pelvis and have learned that I have osteoarthritis between L5 and S1, and a chronic injury at the hamstring insertion, but no remarkable findings in the SI. I have also been told I have a hypermobile pelvis and that I'm usually walking around with my ilium misaligned - I've learned how to fix this at home, and that does help.

So pay attention to the twinges in your pelvis - this is important feedback your body is giving you. Spend a good amount of time building core strength and keeping your hammies and hip flexors loose. I hope this helps you keep running.

I can't recommend strongly enough that you take up yoga. It has been transformative for my body. I have a bad disk at L5 and all kinds of poor alignment and weakness in my SI and hip area that bothered me for years. My lower back would go out on a regular basis. I was fit in the cardio sense from running and swimming, but with so many aches and pains I didn't feel like I was fit for everyday life. I thought I'd take a month of from my regular stuff and just do yoga. That turned out to be so great that I'm now 13 months into just yoga. I was observing to my DH this morning that it's been interesting how different joints or parts of my body have gone through weeks of popping or cracking frequently, and then settling down. I think it's the better alignment and stronger connections working out their effects. All the glute/ham/psoas/piriformis stretches and strengtheners have been especially helpful. Oh, and I was having some pelvic floor issues as well -- gone. I feel as if I am in MUCH better shape now to be active and age well. I do miss running and swimming, and plan to get back to them one of these days!

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