A sacroiliac belt is a supportive device used to stabilize the sacroiliac (SI) joint in order to reduce pain in the area. Consisting usually of a nylon or elastic band and Velcro® fasteners, the belt is worn strapped snugly around the hips. When used properly, a sacroiliac belt should brace the pelvis and compress the SI joint, in turn alleviating certain forms of lower back pain.
The body’s two SI joints — found on either side of the base of the spine — connect the sacrum to the pelvis. Generally, the joints are aided by ligaments and muscles which hold them in proper alignment and prevent excessive movement or tilting of the pelvis when walking or otherwise using the lower body. Sacroiliac pain can arise when these ligaments or muscles fail to provide adequate support, thus destabilizing the SI joints and causing them to stretch abnormally. In other cases, sacroiliac pain can result from a tilted sacrum or unequal leg lengths, both which place high amounts of stress on the SI joints, or from arthritis, which causes inflammation of the joints. Though triggers may vary, SI joint pain is typically felt in the lower back and may result in difficulty remaining in one position for a sustained period of time.
Many of the culprits of SI joint pain can be held in check through the use of a sacroiliac belt. The compression that the belt exerts when strapped in place can act as a stand-in for malfunctioning muscles and ligaments, lending support to the SI joints and preventing them from overstretching. Further, a sacroiliac belt can promote proper alignment of the pelvis, thus reducing undue stress on the SI joints.
It is important to note that not every form of SI joint dysfunction will respond to treatment with a sacroiliac belt. In the case of unequal leg lengths, for instance, a more suitable course of action might be the introduction of a heel lift, which can balance leg lengths and relieve joint stress. For arthritis sufferers, oral medications or anti-inflammatory injections might be more successful in alleviating SI joint pain. People who are concerned about SI joint pain should consult a physician, who typically can perform diagnostic tests to determine the exact cause of discomfort and prescribe treatment accordingly. Anyone interested in purchasing a sacroiliac belt can consult a physical therapist or an osteopathic physician, who can recommend a product suitable to the individual’s needs.