A sacroiliac (si) belt (also known as a sacroiliac belt or si joint belt) is a support belt that helps reduce pain and inflammation in the sacroiliac (si) joint. Si belts are also sometimes referred to as trochanteric belts.
Si belts are usually between 4 and 8 inches wide and made from an elastic or similarly stretchy material. They are meant to be worn snugly around the hips.
Many of these belts are equipped with buckles or Velcro fasteners, which make thyme adjustable. Belts with these features make it easy for the user to adjust the compression level. They also simplify the process of choosing the correct size.
SI joint belts provide support only for the ligaments of the si joint.This targeted support means that the back muscles will not be atrophied (weakened) as a result of wearing an si belt. They are intended only to reduce stress on the si joint and allow the ligaments of that joint an opportunity to heal.
There are actually two si joints – one on each side of the base of the spine. The joint is the point where the spine meets the pelvis. As with other joints, the two bones (spine and pelvis) are held together by strong ligaments. These ligaments keep the joint properly aligned and allow us to stand or walk properly.
The ligaments have a small amount of “give” in them – just enough to allow limited joint movement during weight bearing activities.
The si joints also serve as shock absorbers between the spine and the lower body.
The image above illustrates the si joint located at the intersection of the spine and pelvic bones.
Symptoms Of SI Joint Instability
The si joint becomes unstable if the spine and pelvis are not being kept in proper alignment. This can happen if the ligaments holding the joint together become damaged.
When this happens, the affected person may experience difficulty remaining in one place for an extended period. They will also experience a “gripping” or “stabbing” pain at the base of the spine.
Another common symptom of sacroiliac joint dysfunction is pain and difficulty encountered while climbing stairs or trying to lie on one side.
How Do SI Joint Belts Work?
As mentioned above, the ligaments that keep the joint in proper alignment may become damaged and loose. One of the conditions that can sometimes cause widening and excessive movement of the si joint due to ligament damage is pregnancy or childbearing.
Overstretched ligaments allow too much movement of the joint and cause si joint instability and pain.This is where the si joint belt (or si belt or trochanteric belt) comes in.
It supports the sacroiliac joint ligaments by doing the job they are normally responsible for doing. The belt is designed to keep the SI joint in proper alignment. It also supports the SI joint and reduces the stress on it. By performing this role, the trochanteric belt helps relieve pain and allows the damaged ligaments to heal.
How Do I Wear The SI Belt?
You normally wear the belt around the hips in a snug fit. Your doctor will usually recommend wearing it continuously for about 10 days. After that, you will probably need to wear it for another 6-8 weeks, but only when bearing weight.
You should avoid vigorous exercise during the time you are advised to wear an si belt.
Can I Wear An SI Belt While Sleeping?
It is helpful in some cases to wear your SI Belt belt round the clock. But we would advise you to check with your physician before doing this. If your doctor agrees with this step, here are some tips:
Sleep on your side, keeping your painful or injured side up (to avoid putting weight on it);
Keep one leg bent while sleeping;
Use a contoured cervical pillow under your head, and sleep with another (regular) pillow under your upper arm. This will help to keep your spine properly aligned.
Although si belts are very effective in the treatment of si joint sprains, they are not to be used to treat other si joint problems. We mention some of these limitations below.
SI Joint Arthritis
Like any other joint of the body, the si joint can be attacked by arthritis. Trochanteric belts cannot be used to treat this type of disorder. Instead, consult with a doctor who can advise on the medications you should take to control the inflammation produced by the arthritis.
Leg Length Inequality
This is another common cause of si joint dysfunction and pain. However, an si joint belt should not be used to treat this problem. Instead, you should use a device such as a heel lift to correct the problem and reduce si joint pain.