An SI Belt (also known as a sacroiliac joint belt, an si joint belt or a trochanteric belt) is a support brace. It helps to relieve pain and support the sacroiliac joints. It is worn when, for one reason or another, the ligaments around the si joint become too loose. When this happens, they allow excessive movement of the joint, which causes you sacroiliac joint pain.
Si belts are also sometimes referred to as trochanter belts. They are usually between 4-8 inches wide. In addition, they are usually made from a stretchy material so that they can apply compression to your hips.
Many support belts also are equipped with buckles or with a Velcro fastening mechanism. This makes them able to fit a wider variety of body sizes. In addition, you can adjust the compression and hip support level from time to time as required. This allows for more flexible pain management that is suited to the needs of each occasion.
The sacroiliac (si) joints are located on either side of the base of the spine and connect the spine to the pelvis. They function to stabilize your pelvis. In addition, they serve as shock absorbers between the lower body and the spine.
The joint is held together by several strong ligaments. These ligaments, when healthy, allow only very limited movement of the pelvis and spine relative to each other. This is important if you are to be able to carry out basic functions like walking or even standing without pain.
However, the si joint does need to allow some very limited movement of its bones relative to each other. This is to allow the joint to rotate, slide or tilt to a limited extent. The joint needs to perform these actions in order to support weight bearing functions.
SI Joint Belts
Sometimes, the ligaments that keep the joint in proper alignment can become damaged and loose, causing si joint pain and nstability. When this happens, you will likely feel pain at the base of your spine. It may feel like a “gripping” or “stabbing” type of pain. Other things that may cause you hip pain due to si joint dysfunction are:
Climbing up stairs
Lying on one side.
Some of the things that can trigger si joint dysfunction are:
Arthritis – a disease that can cause severe joint inflammation that can then lead to excessive movement;
Having legs of unequal length;
Having a sacrum that is congenitally tilted out of its normal position; and
Pregnancy – a condition in which the additional pressure on the si joint can cause widening of the bones and excess movement.
The joint instability may arise from pregnancy or some other stress that damages joint ligaments. If so , this is where the SI belt comes into play to provide pain relief.
The belt steps in and supports the injured ligaments by helping to keep the bones of the si joint properly aligned. This allows the si joint ligaments to rest and recover naturally. In addition, it relieves pain that you would otherwise feel when walking or even standing.
What About The Other Causes Of SI Joint Instability?
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction can occur for reasons unrelated to ligament damage. As a result, it is wise to visit a doctor who can rule out the other causes of joint instability before you proceed to wear an si belt.
An si belt is not an appropriate solution for si joint instability due to arthritis since this is not caused by ligament damage. Instead, you should visit your doctor for advice on the treatment of your si joint arthritis.
Legs Of Unequal length
As with arthritis, this cause of si joint instability is not related to ligament damage and cannot be treated by wearing a trochanteric belt. Instead, consult with a podiatrist who may recommend (or mould) heel lifts to address the problem.
As with the above two conditions, an out of position sacrum cannot be treated using an si belt. Instead, you could consult with your doctor for a solution.
Using Your SI Joint Belt
You normally wear a trochanteric belt snugly around your hips. Most doctors will probably initially recommend wearing the belt continuously for about 10 days.
After the first 10 days, your doctor may recommend its continued use for another 6-8 weeks, but only when bearing weight.
Can SI Belts be worn while sleeping?
Sometimes, it may be helpful to wear an SI Belt belt at all times, including when sleeping. However, you should check with your physician before doing this. If your doctor supports this idea, here are some tips you should follow for maximum effectiveness :
Sleep on one side. If one side is more painful, avoid putting weight on it by sleeping on the other side;
Sleep with one leg bent;
Use two pillows for sleeping. The first should be a contoured cervical pillow that you keep under your head. The second should be a regular pillow that you hold under your upper arm. Sleeping like this will help to keep your spine in proper alignment.