Question: I am thinking about getting a sacroiliac joint belt to help stabilize my sacroiliac joint. What brands are recommended by doctors?

I am thinking about getting a sacroiliac joint belt to help stabilize my sacroiliac joint. It seems any product promising pain relief should be taken with a grain of salt. How much have these things been tested and are there any reputable types of belts? Do doctors recommend a specific brand of sacroiliac joint belt? Do they sell or rent them? What type of price do they come with? I would appreciate any advice.

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Doctor’s Response: There is no specific type of sacral belt.

In my practice, the first line of treatment is anti-inflammatory medication, a sacral belt, and alteration of activities. Sacral belts do indeed help stabilize the sacroiliac joint. These are belts that are approximately six to eight inches wide, and go around the pelvis, not the low back. It is very important to wear these belts correctly. There is no specific type of belt, as my patients using them use all different types. Usually, a company that makes back braces also carries sacroiliac belts. They would also show you how to use the belt. A sacroiliac belt is something where you are measured, and it comes out of a box. You are fitted with it, trained to use it, and then you go on your way.

It should be noted that a sacroiliac belt can be worn without the hazards of muscle weakness, like we see with lumbar braces and such. The reason for this is that lumbar braces do indeed take the place of the lumbar musculature, which is supposed to be supporting the lumbar spine, and the muscles get weak. The one thing about the sacroiliac joints is that there are really no big muscle units that cross the joint. This is why they are difficult to rehabilitate with traditional physical therapy, and why there are no big muscles to get weak by wearing the sacral belt. So, if the sacral belt works, you can wear it indefinitely without any downside, to my knowledge. The one caution that I would state is that I have had patients who wore a sacral belt develop trochanteric bursitis. This is where the belt rubs on the lateral aspect of the hip, and, as a result of that rubbing, it can cause a bursitis, and, for that reason, the sacral belt has had to be discontinued; but, I am not aware of other downsides to wearing the sacroiliac belt.

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In Spine-health’s Doctor Advice section, physicians respond to frequently asked questions about back pain issues. These responses represent the opinion of one physician, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the broader medical community. The advice presented has not been peer reviewed by Spine-health’s medical advisory board.