Body Pain Lower back By Sophie Xie / March 21, 2016 Got SI pain? Find out if you can benefit from wearing a Sacroiliac joint belt This belt is worn in secrecy, inside our clothing and against our underwear. You look completely normally to the outside world, but you, and only you, know that you are wearing a secret weapon. Am I making this sound cool?Schwarzer et al stated that "the prevalence of sacroiliac pain would appear to be at least 13% and perhaps as high a 30%" in patients with low back and buttock pain.If you are one of those people suffering from SI joint pain, poor movement tolerance, or limited improvement in their SI joint dysfunction, this belt is a life-saver.For those of my patients who truly benefit from the belt, they know it the first moment they wear it. The belt compresses the loosey-goosey SI joints into tight closure, facilitating the normal weight transfer and movement of your body. They can suddenly perform all the painful movements, such as standing up, walking, getting in and out of a car, getting out of bed, etc, with much less pain and fear.So, with all that said, can you benefit from the sacroiliac joint belt?Women with recent childbirth related lower back pain. Pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding put a woman’s body through major hormonal changes and fluctuation. One of the hormones is Relaxin, which makes our ligament relax and get more stretchy, preparing for the baby to squeeze through during birth. In some cases, this hormonal effect, plus the childbirth process, causes so much stretch and expansion in your SI joints that it makes it difficult to regain proper stability, even long after childbirth and breastfeeding. If you are part of this population, and have been struggling with pain over your lower back and tailbone, especially during transitional movements (standing up, walking, getting in and out of car, getting out of bed, etc) in one or both sides, you should read on.People with recent traumatic incidents to their body. If you have recently been hit, tugged, twisted, have fallen or been involved in a car accident, you may experience pain in your lower back, pelvis or hip. You may also have visited your local chiropractor who adjusted your spine alignment, and you instantly have no more pain. There is a small population that experiences this scenario, but their pain over the lower back and tailbone area comes back after a few days and stays there until adjusted again. This pattern may go-on for a long time. If this sounds like you, you may need the SI belt to progress your healing.If you suspect SI instability, try this on yourself. Perform a round of exercises from this post. Find your ASIS, which is the bony prominence in the front of your pelvis. Use a wide normal fashion belt and tie it over your hips on the level of the ASIS, over your clothing. This should be slightly lower than the level your belt normal goes. Tighten the belt as tight as you can tolerate (without causing more pain). The belt should cover the SI joints in the back, where you normally experience pain during movements. Then, move around and do your daily activities while in the belt, and note any change in symptoms.If this trick helps with your pain during movement, you can benefit from the SI belt?Which SI belt to buy?Well, if I can use the wide fashion belt in the step above, why should I need to buy a SI belt.It is because of the wearing schedule. In order for the SI belt to benefit the SI condition in the long run, the patient is recommended to wear it 23 hours per day (leaving one hour to shower and change) for 3-4 months. The reason for this extensive schedule is based on the belief that true recovery from SI instability happens when the ligaments holding the joints together completely regenerate (which may take 3-6 months) while the joint is held in a stable condition. How many people stick to this schedule? I met none.But this gives you an idea of how much time you will spend in this belt, depending on it to keep your pain in bay. The normal fashion belt with make you uncomfortable and irritate your skin soon.There are many brands and styles of SI belts in the market, coming in different sizes too. Other than the price, you want to consider the coverage and elasticity of an SI belt.The padded belts with larger contact surface with your body offer more comfort. However, they can become cumbersome and hot as your activity level increases.The belts with more elasticity also offer more comfort. However, belts can be too stretchy to hold your pelvis in alignment, and will also wear-out faster.If you body is tender and sensitive, and high level activities are not realistic, you should shop for comfort.However, if your goal is to pull through your work shift or exercise routine without “popping” your SI joint out of alignment, lightweight and support is your target. Serola sacroiliac beltIn the clinic, the SI belt we issue out most is the Serola SI belt. It is lightweight and offers a good amount of support, and works good for large numbers of patients. It also is made to be really good quality and can last a long time.The serola belts come in different sizes. Check the measurement to find a proper size for you. Brace-like sacroiliac beltThis belt is reported to be more comfortable. However, it is much bulkier than the Serola belt.It is popular among post surgical patients and the elderly population due to it's large padding and gentle compression. Soft cotton sacroiliac beltThis type of SI belt is very stretchy. As you can imagine, it is also very comfortable. The disadvantage is that it is too stretchy, thus providing limited support for active movements.This type of belt is perfect for pregnant women and new moms. The elasticity will not hold for too long, but long enough to get you through some tough months. How to put on an SI belt correctlyIdeally, you should place the SI belt on right after your spinal adjustment. When you are ready, find your ASIS (refer to graph above), which is the bony prominence in the front of your pelvis. Put the belt on over your hips on the level of the ASIS. This should be slightly lower than the level your fashion belt. Pick up the enforcement strap on each side, stretch them out and anchor them on the front of your belt, making the belt tighter (without causing more pain). The belt should cover the SI joints in the back, where you normally experience pain during movements.Sit down with the belt. It should rest nicely above the hold of your hip, not interfering with sitting motion, or digging into your skin.Stay in it for at least one hour, assessing your comfort level. Tighten or loosen up to get the best fit. Wear it under your outfit to maximize the pelvis stability.As I mentioned earlier in the post, it is recommended to wear the SI belt for an insanely long time. My personal recommendation is that, if you feel better with the belt, you definitely need it. Try to wear it as often as possible during the first few weeks. This will help your SI joints to stabilize and calm down with the inflammation. Slowly wean the belt off as you feel better. Only decrease the schedule if you do not experience more pain without the belt.Wearing the belt does not excuse you from performing exercises for SI dysfunction. Exercises will improve your core muscle activation, which will intrinsically assist with SI joint closure and stability. You will recover much faster with consistent exercise compliance and get back to your life sooner.What to be aware of?If you cannot get comfortable wearing an SI belt, take it off.Sometimes, your SI joints and lower back are still recovering from acute trauma, and are extremely sensitive. SI belts may put on too much pressure, causing more pain.If you experience increased sharp, target pain in the SI joint, your pelvis and lower back may be out of alignment. Take your belt to see a physical therapist or chiropractor. Once they place you into proper alignment, the belt should not be causing the pain when you put it on.Bottom line, you have to wear it to benefit from it. Whatever reason preventing the belt from staying on you, is going to take away the purpose of the SI belt. I see too often that people give up the belt too early, and the most often reason boils down to comfort and convenience.Recommended reading:3-step sacroiliac joint pain treatment for effective pain relief and long-term recoveryGot SI Pain? Find out if you can benefit from a sacroiliac beltThank you for reading, and I hope you find this post helpful.Like what you just read? Share this post via our social media buttons! They are everywhere on this page!Want to know more about treating our own pain with techniques from a physical therapist? Please subscribe to our newsletter!