Way back in late June 2015, I wrote about using a sacroiliac belt for pain in that joint. (See When the healer needs healing: chronic pain in a sacroiliac joint).
I posted a few updates. (See Update on using the sacroiliac belt, A cheaper sacroiliac belt, working toward “the new normal”, SI belt update, plus insoles for Morton’s foot, and Pelvic rehab update: getting bodywork, exercises, kinesiotaping). I haven’t had much to add since then: getting the belt and wearing it nearly 24/7, using the insoles, continuing to gather information, get bodywork, etc., it just takes time.
It’s now January 2017, and I’m here to give you an update, prompted by a couple of comments I’ve received recently from readers who are suffering from SI joint pain.
I finally stopped wearing the belt last month, in December 2016. That’s right, I wore it most of the time for 18 months, a year and a half. My pelvis feels pretty aligned now. It’s not perfect, but it is strong and tight enough that the joint stays in place. Since I started wearing it, I haven’t had that unstable, painful feeling of my SI joint going out.
Now I have that stability without wearing the belt.
The belt I ended up using more than any was a core wrap, measuring 4″ x 48″, made of stretchy neoprene with really good velcro. These are intended to hold hot or cold packs against the torso, but they work well as SI belts and are inexpensive.
(October 2018 addition: reader James R. Perez says, “I believe very much that your elastic is better than the belt I got from the doctor. Those people actually gave me a belt that doesn’t stretch or move with your hips. It’s important that you have support, but it needs to be free to allow your hips to express themselves, align and adjust themselves, so they have the opportunity to heal correctly. So these doctors who make the sacroiliac belt, I don’t think they know what they’re talking about…yet.”
James also recommends the video How to Recognize a Pelvic Problem. Thank you so much, James! There are so many comments, so if you’re just finding this post or returning to it, please read on about others’ experiences.)
I bought two core wraps, cutting them to fit with a few inches of overlap, and they are still in good shape.
The waist slimmers are made of thinner fabric, so if you want to avoid bulk around your hips, you may prefer them. I found they tended to fold and roll more easily, but that may just be my body shape.
My teacher/physical therapist Jan Hutchinson told me back in 2015 that it could take a couple of years to train the joint back into alignment by wearing the belt and doing exercises. It took me a year and a half.
I want you to know that it might not take you that long to heal your unstable SI joint. The reason she said that is because my accident occurred in 1996, so we are talking about 19 years of pelvic instability. 19 years! That affects a lot of other things in the body.
I’m nearly 64 now. It just takes longer to heal the older you get. The older body doesn’t produce as much collagen as it does when you’re young.
You may also have more patience and commitment with age, so there’s some balance there.
And maaaayyyyybbbeeee, she exaggerated a tiny bit to impress on me the commitment it would take to recover.
Commit I did. Wearing the belt made me look slightly fatter. Sometimes the velcro rubbed my skin uncomfortably. It got hot and itchy at times. But it held my pelvis together tightly enough over time to retrain my stretched-out sacroiliac ligaments to shorten.
Some things that I believe helped:
- I worked with a highly experienced physical therapist, one who also taught.
- I made bone broth, drinking a hot cup daily or using it in soups and stews. Bone broth is laden with collagen, it tastes great, and you can use it in soups and sauces. (I’m adding this in 2018: an Instant Pot is a godsend for making bone broth at home, which is way less expensive than buying it. I pressure-cook the bones of two chickens, plus chicken feet if I can get them, for two hours instead of 24.)
- If I didn’t have bone broth on hand, I started taking collagen peptides every day, especially in the summer when it was too hot to cook. Collagen is the main component of ligaments and other connective tissues. Not sure, but maybe it slowed down my acquisition of wrinkles! People do say I look younger.
- I worked hard on my squats. At first, I had to work up to a full squat, and I just went half-way down to chair-level. Eventually I was able to go all the way down with my feet flat on the floor with my leg muscles working evenly. I still do squats several times a week and will benefit from doing them the rest of my life.
Tip for doing squats: I wrote earlier about how my squats were kind of creaky and my left and right leg muscles were not synchronized. If you do squats in a doorway with your hands holding the doorknobs, with the door edge lined up with your midline and your eyes gazing at the vertical edge as you squat and rise, it helps your movements become symmetrical. Weird, but it works!
- I became much more aware of movements that strain the SI joints: twisting, turning, and lunging.
- Besides squats, I do plank, pushups, and bridge to strengthen my core.
- I changed my habits, no longer standing with more weight on one foot than the other. I’m still working on not crossing my knees.
- I still sleep with the two body pillows and the Therapeutica sleeping pillow for good posture when I’m catching some zzzzzs.
- I do some yoga nearly every day. Slow mindful Sun Salutations are my jam. For a long time, I avoided the lunge, doing the Ashtanga-style jump back/jump forward. I’m good with the lunge now. I also avoided twists.
- I added tree pose because it helps my wobblier left leg become more stable, and I do bridge pose for core strength.
- I’ve followed a Weston A. Price Foundation diet, which is anti-inflammatory, and currently am experimenting with a ketogenic diet (high fat, moderate protein, low carb) to lose fat and preserve muscle.
- I still wear the Morton’s foot insoles when I’m going to do much standing, walking, or hiking. My stamina has improved. I did a 4.8 mile hike in the mountains of Big Bend National Park in December with the SI belt on. I was tired afterwards, but I wasn’t feeling pain in my SI joint like I used to.
- My body told me it was time to test not wearing it after months of habitual wearing. I forgot to put it on one night and the following day, felt fine, and figured I’d test not wearing it for a few days to see if the stability held. I’ve put it back on once or twice, but haven’t since.
I hope this encourages all of you to know that if you really commit to healing an injury like this, no matter how old it is or you are, you can get better. Although our bodies are healing themselves all the time, there’s so much you can do to support that process.
My new tagline: “All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.” ~ Helen Keller
These are all the posts I’ve written about this healing odyssey, in order from oldest to newest:
I came across your site by chance.
Ive had back issues for the last 10 years…im a 40 year old male…slightly overweight.
I put out my back in 2005..had MRIs done and Doctors wanted to operate to fix 2 herniated discs i was diagnosed with L4 L5…L5 S1. I have stuck with stretching and managed to get over bad sciatica. I can control it well now and learnt about a forward tipped pelvis I probably have and the muscles that need stretching to help reverse this.
Over the last few years though Ive had weird back spasms..emanating from around the iliac crest…putting me out for days at a time. My work is computer based which hasn’t helped the back…but i was told it was all disc related.
Let us cut you open and fix those darn discs!
Uh uh! Not coming near me with your scalpel!
Over the years Ive been to physios..chiros…cupping therapists…acupuncturists…some of which helped with the symptoms….but the underlying problem was still there…instability…back pain…spasms which could come on out of the blue….with a worrying increase in frequency over the last 2 years. What on Earths going on? Why is my back so bad?! Im going insane trying to figure this out.
After more reading and researching.. the SI joint came up….and things started to make sense! Seems like a lot of back pain is actually SI joint related! I knew i wasn’t that unfit! I had tried so many meds and therapies. Moving around…getting into cars and chairs…why does it seem like the bottom half of me wants to fall off….whats that horrible stretch in the lower back when bending over!?Why am i becoming so crippled?!
Doctors seem to have difficulty in identifying the SI joint as a root cause which explains why it hasnt been diagnosed as the culprit in my case.
So how do i know with a lot of certainty my SI joints are playing up? Simply…I made a makeshift SI type belt at home and put it on after reading how.
I cant remember the last time I ever felt such stability! Like some one gave me a new back!
So yes..Ive self diagnosed myself…thank God!
My plan of action is to get a good serola belt…take NSAIDs to remove any inflammation thats built up over the years…start to take collagen to build up the ligaments which are definitely sprained…possibly torn…keep on stretching and start to walk/swim.
Your journey has given me hope. Its reassuring to read how well you have recovered.
The website is a great read and has filled me with optimism.
Please do share any othe advice you may have.
Thank you immeasurably.
Wow, what great story, Shahid! It can’t hurt to try belting the SI joints to see if your pelvis feels more stable. Good for you for not going for surgery and for stretching. The only advice I have is (1) take turmeric rather than NSAIDs for inflammation because NSAIDs may not be safe over the long term, and (2) be careful stretching, especially anything asymmetrical at the pelvis (avoid lunges and twisting the pelvis, anything that can stretch out the SI joint ligaments) and when you bend, hinge at the hips, keeping the low back straight.
I’d love to hear back about your progress.
I totally agree with you.
Turmeric is excellent.
I took it for a while but them stopped as it didn’t do my stomach any favors, but I think its time to try it again, especially that now I’m on the road to recover…fingers crossed!
Regarding stretching, I totally avoid lunging or twisting and have found some great PDF’s detailing safe stretching for SI joint issues which don’t take an hour to do and really make a difference.
I’d be glad to share these and YouTube videos that have helped.
The makeshift SI belt is on as we speak and seriously, it feels as though I have a new back.
The fear of moving, getting up from a chair, getting into a car, lifting bags, has reduced drastically. It was really beginning to affect me mentally and family thought I was going mad.
Its hard for them to understand what’s going on…..just a bit of back pain…ahh…be a man!
I’m just wondering how many poor souls are out there that have had disc operations when actually their SI was out of check….so tragic.
Apologies for the disjointed previous message. I was typing from my phone, which is never good if you want to put more than one sentence together!
I’ll keep you posted with progress for sure.
Shahid I would love to hear how your SI is doing now! Has your program worked?
I too am wearing a an SI Joint belt due to severe sciatica which I have had in my right leg and foot since June 2016.
After eight weeks of pain I visited my GP and she referred me to the hospital to see a specialist orthopaedic nurse who then referred me for an MRI scan which I had in August. The result of that was, ” a slight protrusion at L4/5″ and so for that I received an epidural steroid injection in October. It gave no relief at all. I then went back to the hospital in December to ask for another epidural (I had been told that only one in three work so I figured a second may work) this time the Consultant saw me and looking at the MRI scan he said I have, “a degenerating disc at L4/5 and if he removes the disc my sciatica will be cured”. I said NO, no way are you operating to which he said I have three choices, take painkillers and do nothing, have the operation or try another injection BUT if I have the injection he believed all I am doing is delaying the operation by four months. I had the injection…. a nerve block injection at the root of L5 on January 24 and again it has not worked.
On top of all this I have scoliosis and my left leg is one inch shorter then my right leg and this hasn’t been addressed at all. I am now waiting for a hospital appointment to get my short leg syndrome addressed by the orthotics department. So, in the mean time, I am leaning to the left, in severe pain on my right which prevents me from driving my car, standing to cook, walking my dog etc, etc. I am drinking copious amounts of water, taking turmeric capsules from Healthspan, Joint Synergix and Liquiflex also by Healthspan, placing a pillow between my knees at night, doing my best to stay positive although I am tired and feeling low and trying so hard to believe I will get better!
I turn 55 on June 1st and feel older than my Dad who is in his 80’s, my MIL is quicker and more agile than me.
Thank you for writing about your experience and for giving me some real hope. I will revisit this sight to re read your story when I need a boost.
Hi, Rachael. Thanks for sharing your story. It is possible for the disc to move back into place, but you would need to work with an experienced advanced, bodyworker or yoga therapist who’s worked with herniated/protruding discs before. (And of course insurance will not cover it, your doctor will not approve of it, and I don’t know if you live in a place where such treatment is available.)
This can also help with the scoliosis and leg length discrepancy. You don’t say whether the leg length difference is functional (uneven hips due to scoliosis) or structural (leg bones different lengths), or how severe your scoliosis is, but it could be all related. Craniosacral therapy can also help with the pain.
Caring thoughts for your path toward wellness!
Do you mind sharing the exercises you were taught to do by your trainer and also the frequency you were told to perform them?
Anything additional to what I’m doing at present would be most welcomed.
I’ve been to physio’s and all they seems to be interested in is booking you in so they can claim off of the insurance!
Rachael, my thoughts and prayers are with you.
What helped me a lot with sciatica was stretching the piriformis muscle and also doing pigeon pose stretches. You can find how to do these fairly easily online.
The only way to see if they will help is to try them and see.
Inversion therapy might help as the logic behind decompressing the spine and getting those naughty discs to come off the nerve makes sense.
I must say that I tried decompression and it does seem to have helped with the sciatica.
You can buy inexpensive decompression tables online.
Alternatively, if you can build a little incline at home you can lay down on that would also serve a similar purpose….gravity is gravity!
To good health.
Shahid, my exercises were prescribed specifically for me by my trainer, based on what I could and could not do. For instance, at first I did sitting and rising, over and over, keeping good form, lowering the seat when I could maintain good form. You need a trained observer to watch your form and tell you when you are losing it and help you get it back. Eventually I worked up to doing full squats. That’s just one exercise. If you want to know more about this, find a trainer who uses the Functional Movement System devised by Gray Cook.
Thank you for sharing what has worked for you. I agree, try things to see what helps, and when you are trying something new, move very slowly and listen to your body. Stop before you feel pain. Eventually you will be able to move farther without pain. Pain is there for a reason! It means stop!
Question….. did you always exercise with your belt on or off? I know you said you slept with it, but I sleep on my back and don’t normally move so I take it off. Also take it off when I exercise and do the isometric exercises. I was just curious what you did. Thanks so much for your response. Bette
Hi, Bette. I always exercised with the belt on, because certain movements can strain the SI joint, pulling on the ligaments that need to shorten for pelvic stability. These movements can include walking, running, jumping, twisting, turning, and lunging.
If you sleep on your back all night and don’t toss-turn-twist in your sleep, you should be fine sleeping without the belt on. I wish I could do that!
I too am dealing with SI joint pain. The SI belt helps but am developing hip bursitis now from it. Did you have that problem ever? Thanks for your response.
Bette, thanks for sharing what’s happening with your body. I did not have hip bursitis. Be sure that the belt is between the top of your hip bone and the greater trochanter of the femur (bone at the top outer thigh). If you are placing it over your greater trochanters, you are compressing the bursas there. That is too low. If you have a small body or your belt is too wide, consider getting a narrower belt or cutting it to size. Notice the belt is slightly crooked in this image — not necessary! Image courtesy of ActiveOrtho.com.
Thank you so much for your response. I bought a searla belt and that has helped, plus my therapy doc has offered several strengthening exercises that are actually helping. I know it is going to be a road to travel, but I am actually seeing light at the end of the tunnel, and this page has been a God send. Thank you again for your blog. Blessings!!
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I also wanted to share to anyone who is reading this blog that if you haven’t tried Rock Tape or KT Tape (you can google it or youtube as well, to help with the pain it is well worth researching. I am using it along with the belt and my exercises and it is definitely a Godsend!
I too seem to have SI joint problems. I have bulging disc L5S1 and h ave had two injections. Next injections are for my SI joint. I have bursitis too and the SI belt has made it too painful to wear. I have tried adjusting it, but can’t seem to avoid the bursitis area. 😦
Thanks for your comment, Cindy. I haven’t had bursitis but understand there’s a lot of discomfort with it. I’m guessing you have trochanteric bursitis, and although the SI belt should be worn above the trochanter, I can see how it could still create pressure on the inflamed bursa. Your body knows! Good luck with your healing, dear.
How much planking, squats , bridges etc were you doing a day please ?
Gareth, over time, I worked my way up to 3 sets each of 30 squats and bridges, and 20 full-body push-ups, and to holding full plank for 90 seconds. This was under the supervision of a trainer, who made sure I used perfect form to avoid further injury and who carefully gauged my abilities.
Thanks , did you ride a bike as exercise ?
I did not, Gareth, but it would be a good exercise for people with SI joint pain, since the weight of the upper body is on the “sitz bones” and the SI joints are not weight-bearing. Swimming is good too. Walking: wear a belt and stop before you feel discomfort. Running: nope. The SI joints take too much of a pounding, which you want to avoid until they’ve recovered.
Ok thanks, so did you stop wearing your si belt in bed at about 3 and a half weeks and wore mainly when you were active during the day ?
Gareth, I wore my SI belt for a year and a half nearly 24/7, except when showering or swimming. It became habit because I really, really wanted to restore pelvic stability, and it was worth it to me. I was told it was especially important to wear when sleeping, because we are unconscious then and can find ourselves in weird postures. I was also told that it might take two years.
I realize it’s disheartening to hear that, but what that long time period does is to allow the sacroiliac ligaments to shorten, providing stability. It’s not that easy to get ligaments to shorten, but it might not take so long for someone younger or with a more recent injury (I was working on a 20-year-old injury). It takes time for ligaments to shorten, and anything that stretches them out is means starting over.
Thanks for the info, just one more question , were you unable to do any exercises when you first started your rehabilitation?
Gareth, I had to work up to doing full squats with proper form, and for a long time, my leg muscles would alternately work, right then left, as I moved down or up. They weren’t used to working in synchrony. Doing them in a doorway with the vertical door (or anything vertical if not in a doorway) in my line of vision helped my legs work more smoothly together as I did squats.
I also did pushups from my knees at first, and I couldn’t hold a plank for even 30 seconds.
Which yoga poses did you do and are they specific to help realign the pelvis and sacrum ? Appreciate all the information you are giving me so thanks again
I thought I would jump in here. I think every situation obviously is unique to each person. I have been getting stronger every day with praying, swimming and strengthening. I found this on youtube, and absolutely love it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOEaotZCIP4&t=517s
It’s called Align your pelvis and get rid of SI joint pain. It really seems to be helping me and I thoroughly enjoy it. Good luck!
Thanks so much for sharing, Bette. Yes, every situation is unique. What’s worked for me might not be right for someone else. The main takeaway I hope people get is that you CAN heal your body after an injury and experience less or no pain and move freely again. It may take some trial and error, and most important, listening to your body. Great video, and I’m so glad this is working for you.
Love this video! I’ve been doing these exercises. They help!
Yay!! I am so glad that video is helping you. It helps me as well. Thanks for your response!!
Gareth, I did (and do) Sun Salutations every day. I only did symmetrical asanas, avoiding lunges and twists, anything that strained my SI joints. So: mountain, l-shaped poses, plank, downward facing dog, cobra, etc. Here’s a video of Surya Namaskar A (I jumped back as well as forward): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9P5PSqmnu88. I just discovered this: https://yogainternational.com/article/view/yoga-tips-to-relieve-sacroiliac-joint-pain. Judith Hanson lasater is a respected PT as well as yoga teacher, and I trust her teachings re: yoga and injury.
How long did it take before you having daily pain ? Just so I feel like I’m getting somewhere? I stopped wearing my si belt after 4 weeks and the pain came back with a vengeance, which was daft really, but I keep feeling like is this condition something else , but now I have reverted back to your learnings
Gareth, I don’t want to discourage you, but I wore the SI belt for a year and a half, nearly 24/7. It took that long for my stretched out, damaged sacroiliac ligaments to shorten so my pelvic was stable again. My PT told me that it takes time and consistency wearing the belt to get that to happen. It might not take you that long, depending on your age and how long ago you were injured. But 4 weeks is definitely not enough.
Try wearing it for 6 months, then go without and notice if you feel stable and pain-free. At the FIRST SIGN of instability/pain, put it back on for a month. Then test again.
Sorry how long did it take before you stopped getting daily pain ?
Hi. Thank you for all this info. I’m going to try it. My SI s have been out since my second pregnancy 30 years ago. I made way too much elastin, not been the same since.
My chiro encouraged me to get a belt but only to use it for a short time because my muscles would grow weak as I came to rely on it. And to only put it on after a session when I knew I was straight, otherwise it holds you in the wrong position. What do you think about those warnings?
Hi, Belinda. I’m sorry you’ve been suffering. The reason I wore an SI belt for 1.5 years was to allow my sacral ligaments to shorten since they were stretched out unevenly. I wore the belt above my greater trochanters and pubic bone but below the ASISs. My hip joints were free to move, and I didn’t feel impaired in movement with the belt on. (I did avoid movements that stretched the SI ligaments, such as twisting and lunging.) My pelvis and whole body felt much more stable with the belt on, and after a long LONG while, my body held onto the stability without the belt. Wearing it combined with seeing a PT and doing exercises kept me aligned and stable much better than not wearing the belt.
You might ask this chiropractor what his/her experience has been with this injury, and if you could talk to a previous patient he or she has helped recover using this method. You could also ask another chiropractor, ask a PT, do online research yourself, or just notice how stable you feel. I was told it takes a long time for ligaments to shorten, and if I took off the belt, they would stretch out, and it would be like starting over.
Also, from what I’ve experienced, chiropractors like to create a dependency (you must see only them and do what they say, regularly for years). Physical therapists are prohibited in their code of ethics from creating dependent relationships of their patients. Their job is to fix you and get you well. I prefer working with physical therapists. If they’re really good, positive word of mouth will keep their practice full.
Hey MaryAnn, I came across your post here and am amazed someone has actually overcome this — I’ve been dealing with this pain since I was 19 (I’m 29 now, turning 30 in January) and spent years with people trying to ‘adjust’ my joint back into place or believing I was having issues with my L5/S1. Honestly, long term many of these treatments could have left me worse off than I was beforehand. This is, in spite of the fact, the SI joint injections were the only thing that ever provided me short-term relief.
Unless the joint is actually out of place, I know the goal is stability, stability, stability.
I’m interested in chatting a little bit more over email about what your pain exactly feels like and what exercises you may be doing if you could spare the time!
Matt, thanks for commenting. Adjusting the joint will most likely not hold until the ligaments shrink, since that’s what holds the joint together and provides stability. I hear from a lot of commenters about an ongoing search for effective treatment. You are welcome to email me. I have very little pain now and am working on fine-tuning my pelvic alignment. The best video I’ve found is Align Your Pelvis and Get Rid of SI Joint Pain for Good, on YouTube, taught by a Pilates instructor. Another commenter mentioned it, and I’ve found it very helpful.
Thank you for all of this great information. As a 200lb 5’6″ woman, I declined to wear the S.I. Belt my chiropractor gave me out of vanity. Now 5 years later I’m trying to wear it but it basically cuts my fat in two, especially during sitting. As if I wasn’t depressed enough. It is very funny to see the demonstrations of how to put one on. I’d like to see them demonstrate on a fatty like me. Maybe a wider belt would work better on fat people.
There are “waist slimmers” that are stretchy neoprene with velcro fasteners. They are about 8″ wide. That might wrap your SI joints tightly without cutting into your fat. And…that said…there is probably a market for SI belts for larger people.
This information is wonderful…cannot thank you enough just for the hope of getting better. I have been in pain for 8 years and for last 2 it’s been extreme. Had injection that didn’t work- every normal daily activities hurts like sitting or walking on uneven surface, standing long periods of time. Pain at night that does not permit sleep! Horrific pain that causes depression from not being able to do anything without pain.
But came across your blog and now I have new hope. Not going to let myself give up and try to turn this around so I can enjoy life again! Thank you!
I am so sorry for your pain, Kar. Just keep trying. I don’t know what all you’ve tried in terms of treatment, but I found physical therapists to have a better grip on what exactly the problem was (uneven, stretched-out ligaments around the sacrum causing instability in the SI joints, which has a cascade effect on many other parts). Once you know, you can take steps toward healing. It’s not a quick fix, though. Looking back, I still find it a bit shocking that I went to bodyworkers of many types that never even mentioned wearing a sacroiliac belt. I am wishing you all the best.
Hello, it’s finally nice to read about someone who healed from SI joint pain! I am 31, pretty darn healthy (the Physiotherapist and PTs always comment how young and healthy I am and how I should heal) and have been diagnosed with SI joint dysfunction (tho the MRI wasn’t clear, the pain, however, is incredible). It’s been about 2 months of PT with fluctuating results, and I was wondering if you or any other people you have spoken to experienced pain wearing an SI belt? I can’t even wear pants without my back and legs going ballistic. I would love your input. Thank you!
Eechee, I have not experienced pain from wearing an SI belt, and I’ve put my belt on a couple of others with SI issues to see if it helped, and it did. We all had the specific issue of some of the sacroiliac ligaments being stretched too long to keep the joint tight and stable. I don’t know what your specific SI issue is but if you are experiencing pain while wearing an SI belt, check the placement. Try it higher and lower and also tighter and looser. If you can’t find any position where your pelvis feels more stable and less or no pain, then I imagine your SI joint issues are something else. If you are at least getting fluctuating results from PT, that’s better than nothing. It can take a long time to heal. Meanwhile, read all you can find online about SI joint dysfunction, and probably something will ring a bell. Wishing you all the best, dear.
I am so happy to finally read about somebody who actually healed their SI Joint! I’ve had pain for a little over a year but haven’t stopped searching for a cure. My friend’s chiropractor suggested using a trochanter belt and I came across your page while researching. So happy to see positive results!
Amanda, there are not a lot of stories about recovering from this specific injury, and I’m glad I shared my experience. Good luck!
I bought a belt today! …and as a little treat for myself I got a knee separating wedge so I can stop stuffing pillows between my legs lol My pain is always the worst when I’m laying down so I will be wearing this belt to sleep every night. Thanks again for giving so many people hope! I don’t care how long it takes as long as there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
I found this article extremely helpful! I was wondering if you should only wear the SI belt if your SI join is Hypermobile or if it’s also good if it’s Hypomobile. My issue is that everything is extremely tight and I have a lot of issues just stretching. I’m assuming with yours the SI joint was stretching too much? If that makes sense. I have had an extra and have sacriolitis in one hip.
I don’t see how wearing an SI belt could benefit a hypomobile SI joint. In my case, the ligaments were stretched out, and the belt held the bones together tightly while the ligaments slowly shortened. May I suggest heat and cupping and yoga therapy to stretch the fascia appropriately? Good luck!
I’ve actually been doing yoga for 4+ months and it’s helped some with my flexibility (I’m not flexible at all) but i don’t really notice that it’s helped with my SI pain. How would I tell if my SI is Hyper vs Hypo mobile? Would be not being flexible in my hips mean it’s hypomobild?
Hope, if you put an SI belt on and your pelvis feels more stable, then your SI joints are hypermobile and you can benefit from wearing the belt regularly. Your hips have four joints. The two SI joints in back are not supposed to be very mobile. The hip joints in front, that bend deeply when you sit or squat, should have a lot more mobility. You could have tight hip joints and loose SI joints, and vice versa (which is preferable). It would be good to talk to a yoga therapist or physical therapist about this, if you’re not sure.
I too have been working diligently to get my active life back after si joint dysfunction. My yogi was invaluable in non-movement at first, then back very slowly to restorative poses. I do bridges and planks everyday. I use collagen and dhea (I am 50). And I also avoid any inflammatory foods. The one thing that helped me personally more than all of this was 7 rounds of prolotherapy to regrow lost tissue. Relearning movement, mindfulness and patience were my keys to regaining my life.
Thank you SO MUCH for sharing what has worked for you, Alison. I have a client who speaks highly of prolotherapy for her ailing knees. She’s been able to avoid surgery with it. Best wishes.
Hi, this is Shanta. I was rear ended in 2016 May and was in pain immediately from a hyper mobile SI joint. most of my mobility was restored by 6 months and my PT used to give me twisting lunges with 15 po8nds weight and no belt which I found interesting after reading your blog not to twist at your back. At thus point i could do Zumba for like 10 min but nothing more and could vacuum half my house. i got pregnant and strengthened as much as i could to keep me mobile and ended up wearing a belt for the last 4 months but I was mobile and active in my lab where i work. After birth my back felt great I was able to lift my 4 year old, bags of rice etc so I thought I was fine and tried Zumba and was in pain for almost a week. Being hindu vegetarian I cannot eat beef or marine collagen so I am considering marine collagen. Is there any other supplement you could recommend and did you wear the belt even if you were in no pain? I am scared that my muscles will get used to extra help. Thanks so much
Hi, Shanta. I wore the belt even when I was in no pain. The bones need to be brought closer together so the ligaments can shrink, and that needs to be consistent over time or they won’t shrink. You sound like you are young and healthy. Your muscles will recover!
I googled “supplements for connective tissue” and there’s a lot of info out there! I liked this link, which includes food sources: https://helenpadarin.com/uncategorised/nutrition-healthy-connective-tissue/
Good luck, dear!
Thank you. I have a long road but your blog gave me hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I am quite injured from a workout I tried without my belt so wearing it today and will get the supplements going soon
Dear MaryAnn, I really appreciate your care and generosity in sharing your experiences, thank you. It is very encouraging for me to learn about your path of healing. I have recently developed a chronically subluxating SI joint – not due to any injury; it is simply because I am slightly hypermobile and so my SI won’t stay in place. My osteopath uses muscle energy techniques, which are effective in returning me to alignment, but only for a short time… I have started doing exercises and will also get an SI belt, and am trying to be hopeful. My question is: in the case of a hypermobile person, will the ligaments shorten in the way they did for you if I use the belt for long enough? Or are they destined to remain lax? Any insight or tips around this scenario would be very gratefully received.
Hi, Libby. Thanks for posting. I’m wondering about your hypermobility. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome can result in loose ligaments, and it is genetically passed down in families, from what I understand (which is not very much — your osteopath or doctor should be able to tell you more about this). If your hypermobility is slight, and it’s not getting worse, I don’t think you have anything to lose by trying the SI belt. Please let me know.
Thank you so much for this I just started taking that exact collagen powder A couple of weeks ago! I start physical therapy next week for my SI and I had a cortisone shot 3 weeks ago it has helped a little, I am definitely gonna get one of those belts! I want to avoid the fuse surgery so I am 48 years old and reading your story has inspired me thank you so Much
Thank you so much for this post. It gives me hope that I may be able to get back into the activities I miss so much and have for the past three years. I’ve dealt with pain in the SI region for 3 years since taking a fall, then straining the joint in the gym 3 years ago.
I’m currently wearing my new SI belt and planning to wear very often (24/7 at first) and had a few questions if you don’t mind taking a look:
1. Adjustment? Did you rely on any kind of osteopathic/physiotherapy hands-on adjustment of your SI joints in addition to the belt and exercises? I’ve had in the past and they’ve never held (without the belt at least), sometimes making me feel worse. So if you were able to achieve ligament healing without any of this I’d probably prefer that.
2. Having a Life. As a 27-year-old, I’m petrified of making things permanently worse/delaying progress by doing things like moving (carrying boxes, pushing furniture), working on my feet (sometimes we have to hurry), and recreational opportunities with friends… and I catastrophize that I’ve done just this when the pain flares up. It makes me want to put life on hold until things improve. Do you have any advice on how to respond (in both emotion and planning) appropriately but not excessively to pain?
3. Physical Therapy. Thanks for sharing your exercises. Was there a specific school/theory of PT that you’d recommend?
Hi. I had a couple adjustments to my sacrum from a physical therapist while I was wearing the belt. (I mean, she took it off to make the adjustments.) They made a little bit of difference, not much.
As to having a life, it may be a good idea to let your friends, family, and co-workers know you are trying to heal from a painful injury and that if you start to feel strain or pain, you need to stop immediately because it is damaging your body. Pain means stop! In my opinion, putting these activities on hold as much as possible will speed your healing. Use good body mechanics and know your limits. I found that twisting while lifting undid me and learned to twist, then lift, or lift, then twist. I also avoided strenuous hikes.
Look for a physical therapist training in orthopedic (musculoskeletal system).
I have been suffering from SI joint pain for 8 months now . The spine specialist offered s steroid injection for inflammation but I declined . I prefer natural healing . I could feel the instability and had Physical therapy.
I am a dancer and there’s s lot of twisting and dancer patterns that require standing one leg specially the left which probably contribute to me not healing . On top of that There’s a lot of stress in my life due to marital issues .
I am so glad that I ran into this blog after I my trasearch on Si joint instability and SI belt.
This is very helpful and I think I will be on my way to wellness starting today as I follow all the recommendations . It’s very difficult not to dance as I am a ballroom dancer . I practiced my dance routine last Monday with the belt and I did not feel the pain . Thank you for this blog. I did not know I need to wear the belt 23 hours a day but I will start doing so .
Thank you so much ! You will help a lot of people like me who suffers from SI joint instability .
I’m pretty sure I’ve read this before. But am now taking it to heart… Maybe. It could be the weather here in New York or something I did to aggregate my dormant hurty s.i. joint. I had 3 vertebrae fused in my lower spine 3 years ago. It Made my s.i. unsteady. I was given an s.i. belt by the orthopedist but refused to wear it cause it made my day outside up and looked fatter. I’m to vain. The past few days have been impossible and I refuse to take any more injections. I’m wearing the belt and it does feel a little more stabilizing. I’m going to work on keeping it on. Thanks.
Hi, have had chronic low lumbar – SI joint area pain, hip groin pain, left leg pain into the calf and right pain into the foot. All mimic different back / hip condition. Doctors keep telling me that my herniation isn’t big enough to cause this kind of pain. New doctor thinks it might be SI joint. Suggested an SI belt while he sets up some testing, etc…my question is how long after wearing the SI belt should I notice a difference in pain if it is in fact the SI joint I’m having issues with. Some days my pelvis feels twisted and my hip feels weird on the leg that hurts the most. Any suggestions or shared experience is welcomed! TY!
Ashling, the SI belt should make your pelvis feel more stable. If you wear the belt day and night for a week, you should be able to tell if it is helping.
I have read so many discouraging stories about SI joint dysfunction! You have no idea how encouraging your story is to me!! Thank you so much for documenting your journey!! God bless!
I spent years not knowing anything about the injury, having my SI joint “go out,” in pain, unable to go for long walks, feeling defeated, limited, and helpless. It was a secret part of my motivation to go to massage school. (Nearly everyone who goes into the healing arts is motivated in part by wanting to heal themselves.) I was lucky enough to have Jan Hutchinson, PT, as a teacher in the advanced massage program I took. She was the first person to evaluate the various ways my pelvis tilted and to put an SI belt around my pelvis, which allowed me to experience the stability I’d been missing for 20 years. The “bad news” was wearing it 24/7 for a couple of years to get the stretched-out ligaments to shrink and the pelvic bones to realign. If you really want to heal, you do what it takes without looking back, and it worked (and for me, only took 1.5 years). Good luck on your healing journey!
Hi Mary Ann,
I am a young woman who suffered a fairly severe SI joint sprain (I wasn’t walking for a while) that followed months of not walking after a bad disc injury. It is a very tricky injury and it takes a lot of patience! Mine followed years of bad technique while boxing (and one bad deadlift!)
I would love to get a hold of you and compare notes! I am walking now but very limited in my abilities and would love to get advice / compared notes. I am mostly interested in learning to avoid flares. I also just want to hear what worked best for you.
Let me know if this is something you are interested in discussing!
Hi, Joy. All I know is in these posts I’ve put up here. I’ve mentioned avoiding twists because they brought pain. Pay attention to your body, and if a movement causes pain, avoid that movement. Symmetry is great.
My best advice for complex SI joint problems is to work with an experienced physical therapist — the most experienced one you have access to. If they’ve taught PT, even better.
Thank you for sharing your path to healing. Question, I have the belt on now. It’s great! Walking around gives me some groin nerve pain. (Which i understand is from SI.) Did you have any sciatica or anything while you were retraining your SI joint?
I just landed on your blog, and I’m not even sure if you check this anymore, but I’ll write anyways. Its therapeutic. I am in a bit of crisis, having SI Joint pain now for 9 months or so with all the symptoms you mentioned. I started wearing the Serola belt in June and I had THOUGHT I was healed or healing.I felt great.Started to do more exercising and pilates. Then, I went on a short hiking trip in Vermont (hiking up and down small mountains) and after that the pain and instability came roaring back with a vengeance. Now, for some reason, the belt seems to make it worse??? Did you ever feel that the belt was actually not helping. i feel like I’m starting from ground zero here.
I just got an email reply from this thread. You’ll actually find me commenting sometime in 2017 asking for advice. I dealt with SI joint pain for nearly 10 years in my 20s, and I’ve been pain free now for about 1 year and 10 months (with an odd flare up here and there).
What I’d tell you is that when the SI joint is quite inflamed, little will help aside from icing the joint directly. The belt does add stability, but what you’re feeling is the ligaments surrounding the joint being stretched out, angry, and it simply takes awhile for them to calm down.
When you’re recovering, certain movements can re-aggravate the ligaments. One of these I found was hiking. when your knee flexes above the hip, what happens is the ilium rotates away from the sacrum — by its nature, this stresses the ligaments slightly. Do that over and over again, or say hike your food up real high and you have the chance of re-injuring slightly again. Another exercise I found that caused aggravation was biking. Again, the knee extends past 90°, and the ligaments are prone to stretch.
In my opinion, most SI joint pain is related to an instability between the sacrum and the pelvis. That is, when the ligaments are lax, we develop the ability to move the sacrum and the pelvis slightly independently from one another. This happens almost unconsciously. So in the hiking example, when you move your knee high to step up, your lower back rounds slightly (your sacrum tilts forward), while your pelvis rotates anteriorly.
For some more context, there’s an article here that I found quite helpful, that also articulates why twisting motions cause a similar kind of issue:
What you need is to give the joint enough time to actually recover. The trick is, unlike a sprained ankle, it’s very difficult to rest. You can’t really immobilize it. Despite what I’ve said above sounding like a very complicated problem, it’s actually not. Once I understood what to do, I started to improve in a few weeks, and in a few months I hardly thought about it. Here are my tips that helped me.
When Pain is at Its Worst
– Ice, ice ice — 20 minutes, 2–3 times a day
– Sleep flat on your back. If you are a side or stomach sleeper YOU HAVE TO STOP. If you can’t, you have to keep a pillow between your knees
– Sit upright, but try not to over-extend
– Don’t slouch, similar to above, realize your ligaments are just a little sensitive right now
– DO NOT stand on one leg, when standing keep an even distribution of your weight
– Similarly, don’t slump to one side when sitting
– Do these things until it becomes unconscious – Use a belt (I personally did not end up finding this helpful, the belt is basically a support for the above movements, but I think it’s better to alter the root behaviors)
The above corrections are what I consider most important. There’s no magical exercise, people need to understand that a lot of their daily movements tend to add stress to the joint. They never get better because they are tormenting it every day with how they sit, sleep and stand.
– Planks, side planks are great for core stability
– Glute bridges and clam shells help develop the glutes, which can strengthen the musculature around the joint to compensate for the weakened ligaments short-term
– Stretching your quads will also help keep your pelvis in a neutral position
– In the early stages, simple things will cause flare ups, and they may not even seem to be things you can logically connect
– I too went a little fast a little too early and dealt with some increases in pain, but again just look at them as setbacks, not square one
– Let your pain guide your activity. If you get a lot of pain after something, evaluate how you’re doing it. A good example of this was biking. I kept going back to it because I really wanted to do it. I had to just move my road bike into a less aggressive position, lowering the seat and raising the handlebars. Suddenly I had no issues.
And look, like every injury, you might get a flare up once in awhile. When we’re in pain we tend to forget the simplicity of what got us out of pain because we’re just so desperate to feel better. Try your best to relax, because the more you also focus on the pain, the worse it will be. Your brain can become very ‘sensitized’ to pain, where the smallest issue can light up alarm bells in your brain. So when you feel it, do your best to remain calm, remember the principles, and view it as an opportunity to practice.
And lest you think this is all a bunch of hub-bub and there’s now a lot of activities I can’t do. Three weeks ago I hiked Katahdin in Maine with a friend (5,340 feet, 12 miles round) and the next day woke up and biked 47 miles on gravel roads. Two years ago I would have dreaded this, gritting my teeth the whole way. Now? I can’t wait to get back out there.
Thanks so much for your reply! I do believe that hiking reinjured the joint, as well as stressing some of the high hamstring muscles. Quick update…my PT now feels that my main issue is a muscle imbalance which is throwing my sacrum out of joint. She doesn’t believe the SI joint is the cause of the issue, but a symptom. As such, I have stopped using the belt for a while, started some targeted stretches and exercises (mainly bridging), as well as starting accupuncture. Although its early, I feel much better!!! I’m going to the Physiatrist in a few weeks, to hopefully get some clarity on whether he thinks its an SI Joint thing, a misalignment thing, or both!!
Thanks for the update. The pelvis is complex! Bridging is great. Good luck!
I hope you will respond. I actually heard my sacrum crack and crunch when I started having severe pain. Mine is mostly across my buttocks and on the weak left leg. I get so much cracking and popping. My back and Si joints seem to move all over. It is very painful to sit. I have a lot of fear of never getting better.
Cathy, listen carefully to my advice: I’m in year 5 of being pain free.
Give up your fear that something is truly wrong. Do what I outlined above, clear your browser history of anything SI joint related, and give your body (and mind) time to heal. The problem is we all had a physiological problem at some point, but it turns into a psychosomatic issue over time — we start to obsess over the pain and feeling, we feel helpless, we self-isolate.
If you’ve seen a doctor, there’s nothing wrong with you other than a few ligaments that are overly stretched / a bit upset right now and at most it’ll take 3-4 weeks to heal with proper care — but the reality is for me when I have a flare up I’m back on my feet in a day or two by following what I outlined. The obsession with the condition is what prolongs the condition.
I never felt the belt was hurting or not helping, Jim. Were you wearing the belt when you were hiking? If not, you very well could be restarting from ground zero. It can take up to two years for the SI ligaments to shrink from wearing the belt pretty much 24/7, especially when moving or exercising. It’s disheartening to realize it can take that long. I know. I’d say after 1.5 years of consistent use, try going without it for a day and notice how you feel. Gradually add some gentle lunges and twists to see if you can remain pain free. If so, try a short hike. If not, wear it some more. I know that’s not what you want to hear. ❤
Hi MaryAnn. Thanks so much for your reply. I actually stopped wearing the belt last week and believe it or not, I feel better. My PT thinks my sacrum was out of alignment and that the belt was exacerbating that. It could be that I need to realign my sacrum before I start using the belt again. I any event, I am feeling better!
Good to hear. Thanks for sharing!
Hi MaryAnn, like so many others I’d like to thank you for sharing your experience and replying so thoughtfully to others! I have been wearing the SI belt for 6 months now and have definitely felt some improvement, although still having several flare ups and using anti-inflammatories to calm things down. I was wondering: once you removed the belt after 1.5 years, were the ligaments ‘permanently’ healed? Did you need to wear the belt again? Thanks!
Yes, the ligaments have remained tight, 3 years later. I haven’t needed to wear the belt again.
Hi, I’m an 18 year old that currently has SI joint issues. I keep hearing popping in my SI joints and I’m doing PT Everyday. I think the popping might be due to my loose ligaments. What SI joint belt do u recommend? Thanks
Danzel, sometimes I hear slight popping sounds from the sacrum when doing certain yoga poses, like triangle. It’s fairly common. If you don’t have pain in your SI joints when sitting, standing, walking, then I think it’s normal. But you can try tightening a regular belt around your hips and see if you feel more stable. If so, then you could try an SI belt. I used a 48” Core Wrap (meant to hold hot or cold packs against the torso) that I cut to size, and also got a “waist trimmer” band of stretchy fabric with Velcro and cut it in half lengthwise to make an inexpensive SI belt (flimsier than the Core Wrap).
Thanks for the information you have provided. I’m 34 and pretty fit. I had a nasty back spasm 2 years ago where my whole back locked up after starting to work out again (running and body weight movements) after several years of a sedentary lifestyle. I had back issues since.
Finally I went to a PT who said I had a weak core and tight hamstrings. I had a stronger core and looser hamstrings pretty quickly, but there was still something off on my left side right over my si joint (I can put my finger on it) and the spasms weren’t getting better.
I changed PTs who immediately said it’s not your back it’s your hip. Your left hip is weaker and we need to make it symmetrical. I had zero internal hip rotation on that side. I tried to tell the first PT that it was weird how my left hip flew out to the side when I pulled my knee to my chest, but she disregarded it. Just as I began seeing the new PT, I started wearing an SI belt (putting pressure with my hand on that side to stabilize it has always felt better). His assessment was that I am “tighter” than his si joint clients so he didn’t think it was si joint. I did his hip strengthening exercises, stopped stretching the left hip (it didn’t and doesn’t need stretching because it externally rotates way further than my right side already), and wore the belt on and off for a month or two.
I had about 4 months of basically no pain and no spasms until January I started stretching that hip again (piriformis stretch which would relieve the sensation in that spot temporarily). After a workout one day, the spasms were back. Currently, I have completely stopped stretching the hip, am wearing the si belt 24/7, and taking your advice on bone broth. I think, there is a correlation between stretching the hip, and the back spasms, but it has been a lot of trial and error.
Considering your experience, does this sound like si joint dysfunction? Thanks!
I found this site recently after years of pain and dysfunction in my lower back and hip. Have been to orthopedists , acupuncture , physical therapy and physiatrist. All have helped but no one ever gave me a clear diagnosis and little was said about Si joint. Most said trochanteric bursitis. I would have constant pain in lower back and stinging or burning pain deep in my hip. Reading the many posts on symptoms I began to conclude the si joint was the issue as it matched my symptoms exactly. However what to do about it was elusive. I had tried an si joint belt but was wearing it incorrectly. When I found your site I went back to the belt and researched exact placement. Your site explained the connection between the back pain and the joint pain which made me understand the belt sitS higher in the back and slopes down slightly in the front. It was magic once I placed it correctly. I have been wearing it for 6 weeks. I bought an expensive one which is a bit uncomfortable for all day but I use for yoga and biking. I use a Posture belt for daytime and a simple ace bandage wrapped snugly at nite. I have ordered the core wrap. I have had almost no pain since I began this protocol although I can feel the stress of certain movements which tells me I am still very vulnerable. I plan to keep up the belt as long as it takes and if it is forever it is better than the pain. I want to thank you for your encouraging words and for providing such detailed information which truly inspired me to try this. I was very very discouraged and quite depressed. I am 68 have always been active and felt like an invalid. This has given me renewed energy and allows me to begin baking again. I am up to 15 to 20 miles. Thank you so much.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I love hearing from readers what works. Yes, when you feel stress from certain movements, it’s definitely a sign to back off on that movement. I am 67 myself, and a yogi and dancer. It’s fantastic to have full range of movement back in all my joints without pain.
Do you have any suggestions about proper alignment before placing the belt. I find that any squats or twists and even easy seat in yoga are very disruptive and I do Not know if I am constantly shifting the joint out of alignment and placing the belt when it the joint is misaligned.
Look at an image of a skeleton. The topmost part of the pelvis is the iliac crest. Look at the femur (thigh bone) and see how the greater trochanter sticks out to the side. Feel those places on your own body. A sacroiliac belt must be placed between these two bony parts. You can see how this will squeeze the sides of the pelvis (the ilia) snugly against the sacrum at the sacroiliac joints. The belt should not interfere with leg movement. A deep squat might make it ride up from friction, however. When I was wearing a Core Wrap as an SI belt, I would always stand to put it on. Hope this helps!
First I need to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this blog. I developed debilitating hip joint pain left side after 2 years of drug therapy for breast cancer and bone density drugs. I also believe I had serious posture problems from years of computer desk work and walking daily on uneven ground. After consults with 3 orthopedist, 8 weeks of physical therapy and a physiatrist I had no specific diagnosis. From reading the symptoms most accurately defining my pain and triggers were sacroiliac joint. It traveled from back to hip and Vice versa. I was I unable to sleep for the pain. Finally after finding your post I decided to try the si joint belt again. I purchased the posture brand belt and an expensive second one for yoga. I also used the core wrap as you suggested at nite. I wore the Posture belt for 5 months every day. I began to feel immediately relief Day 1 after researching how to place the belt properly. As the pain subsided I was able to begin biking which gave me even greater relief and confidence. At 68 I have always been active and the pain had made me feel like a cripple. I got my life back. After 5 months the belt actually became aggravating at times so I stopped the daily use and shifted ti as needed. I am now able to sleep on my side comfortably using the pillow exactly as you recommended to support both my hip and at the ankle and foot. I am truly grateful for the time and specifics you put into this blog. Had I not found it I would still be sleepless and in pain. I am forever grateful.
Actually I am the one who posted in august. I did not think my post went through. Thanks for you reply snd please keep us the good work.
I am so glad to hear that sharing my experience has been helpful. Blessings.
Since 2004, I’ve experimented with Yoga, Egoscue E-cises, various other stretching modalities.
Sometimes the simplest is best. BTW, SI joint pain feels like someone is pulling your leg out of your socket at worst, and gives you chronic pain in your TFL, groin, buttocks and down your leg at best.
I (finally) found that the BEST thing to do is 1. grab a counter or stable platform, or door knob and squat down ON YOUR HEELS, that is raising your toes, trying to SINK your hips rather than bending forward as you descend. This will cure you at least 75%, Do it slow, let gravity determine you depth, not your ego. IMPORTANT to raise balls of feet and go down and up on your heels, which is why you hold on to something. Don’t let your knees cave in, activate them or push them a touch outbound.
Also, even if you can’t do one pullup, HANG from a pullup bar, overhand grip, build up from seconds to half a minute over time. The key is to bend your legs behind you if bar is low to ground, and do even a beginning attempt at a pullup, even if you fail keep hanging a bit. Something in your spinal muscles will release. It will dramatically help.
Stay away from most yoga, including all lunges, seated twists, even forward bends are of limited help. I found Egoscue’s Static Extension and Counter stretch, when performed exactly as described, also beneficial. But Heel Squats and Bar Hangs will fix you up good.
Thank you for all the information! It is very helpful. I have struggled with SI dysfunction and hypermoblity for over 20 years. I wear an SI belt and it doesn’t seem to help. I get regular chiropractic adjustments twice a week just to survive, as my L5/S1 are regularly going out. You never talk about chiropractic care as part of your healing. How were you able to get relief while healing when you were unstable? Did you go to chiropractors? There are differing theories for hypermobility… Some say regular adjustments are needed, and to me they seem to be, but others say it makes things worse over time. I don’t know how I would survive without being able to get relief because when my L5 goes out, I literally can’t walk or function. Anyway, I was just curious how chiropractic fits into your healing and would really appreciate your input. Thanks so much and best of luck to you!
Hi, Kelly! How do you wear your SI belt? I was told by a PT to wear mine 24/7 except when showering or swimming. That’s what it takes to help the ligaments shrink and create stability when hypermobility is the issue. And be prepared for it to take up to a couple of years. The SI belt is like a long-term cast. If your injuries were more recent, it would take less time.
I saw 3 different chiropractors practicing different types of chiropractic (“regular,” SOT, and AK) since the 1996 accident, each of them regularly for 1-3 years.
My experience is that chiropractic helped a little, but not enough. I learned that their business model, taught in chiropractic school, is to keep people coming in for treatments forever. They do not have treatment plans that involve you being completely healed and no longer in need of their services. So you just keep shelling out money for relief but not a complete cure.
My idea is this: If you can actually help me fix my issues, so I don’t need to keep coming back, I will send you at least 5 new patients.
My personal preference it to see physical therapists rather than chiropractors. I was in a car accident in mid-April and saw a PT who gave me 6 exercises to do daily to align my sacrum and lumbar spine. I went back in mid-June to have him check my progress, and he said “mission accomplished”. Now working on straightening a slight curvature in my thoracic spine. (This man is also a yoga therapist.)
Hope this helps you find the help you need.
Thank you so much for your reply. I have been trying to wear the belt as much as possible but I have no idea how you were able to wear it all the time. Sometimes it literally is too hot out and I’m sweating too much. Other times, there is just no way to wear a certain outfit with it because it pushed your stomach out and makes you look awful. I am not totally vain and I understand no pain, no gain, but you also have to be able to wear certain outfits at certain times without looking like the penguin man lol. Anyway, I admire you for wearing it as much as you did and have no idea how you did that.
As for chiropractic, I was mostly just wondering how you got stability in between before you were “healed” since I have to get an adjustment just to feel normal sometimes. I get what you mean about them not addressing the underlying issues but I also haven’t found a physical therapist that can adjust me the way I need and I’ve been shown excercises to stabilze the pelvis but they do not work for getting my L5 back in place. Only a chiro can do that and, at times, it is totally imperative that I see them– at least once a week my L5 is fully out and I can’t walk or move unless I get adjusted or it just keeps getting worse.
I am so sorry for your accident by the way. I hope you have a speedier recovery than your first one and I appreciate all your help. I just hope long term I can get my SI to stablize but I know it will be a long road. I more wondered if you thought chiropractics was bad for what we have or if it’s okay to see them while still working on stabilizing.
Also, what do you think about inversion tables? I have one but have heard differing things. Some say it’s bad when you have hypermobility. Others swear by it for my issues. Just curious your thoughts on that and thanks again for your reply and wishing you much healing and health.
Kelly, I resigned myself to wearing longer tops that covered my pelvis and the SI belt, and I could do that in my occupation as a bodyworker. And yes, it was hot where I live in Texas! I did take it off to swim and to shower, but other than that, I wore it 24/7 because the PT who explained it to me said that is what it would take for the stretched-out ligaments to shrink. And I really, really wanted a healed, stable pelvis.
I found that chiropractic could sometimes help a little, sporadically, but did not contribute to long-term stability. Then again, L5 wasn’t that much of a problem for me. The PT exercises are not like a chiropractic adjustment. They aren’t quick. It’s the daily repetition over weeks that brings about change in the tissues (ligaments, fascia, muscles) that gets the bones aligned.
I wish there was someone trained in both PT and chiropractic for you! If it helps you, great. I would put the SI belt back on immediately after getting adjusted to prolong the stability.
My PT says inversions are not good for hypermobility. I did them years ago, and they helped with symmetry, but not hypermobility. I made a sling with a chin-up bar in a doorway and a sheet, and would hang upside down like a bat.
Thank you so much for your reply, MaryAnn! I appreciate it so much. I’m really sorry to hear about your more recent accident and I hope you heal as quickly as possible from that. I’m sure that can’t be fun after everything you already went through. I have a few remaining questions if and when you get a free minute:
-1) How did you manage to wear a belt ALL the time. I find it is simply impossible, as it doesn’t work with some outfits because it just looks so terrible and makes your whole stomach bunch up. Also, during the summer like now, sometimes it’s just too darn hot.
2)Do you think an inversion table helps or hurts our situation with hypermobility and SI joint dysfunction? I have a table but have heard both theories on things and totally opposite thoughts.
3) I have to get adjusted sometimes and the only one I have found to do that is a chiropractor. I agree they don’t seem to have a long term plan but I simply can’t adjust my L5 with exercises on my own and when it goes out, I have to get it adjusted. I was wondering if there were times you simply had to get adjusted during your journey?
4)Do you think it’s bad to be wearing the belt when we can tell that we’re out of alignment and before or in between adjustments? Wouldn’t it be counter-intuitive to be wearing the belt when things are not aligned because then we’re solidfying that out of alignment position or am I missing something?
Thank you again so much for your knowledge and time and kindness!
I hope you can give me some hope. I have injured my back numerous times over my 65 years. Eight months ago I held an 80 pound back by the collar who was lunging at a person (not my dog). Afterward I had back pain that would go deep in my buttocks whenever I walked and standing around was awful. I also had trouble lifting my left leg to go up stairs. In the last few months I had a number of loud crunches in both sides of my si joint that seem to free it. Anyway, I had pain in my left si so I thought I should try physio. The therapist I went to told me there is no such thing as si joint dysfunction. I have a lot of cracking and popping from my joints, pelvis and lumbar spine. My doctor was the person who diagnosed me with si joint sprain/dysfunction. I have not had an X-ray. I asked for one, but he said no. I feel weakness in my legs – especially my left leg. I also have tarsal tunnel right now. I have started wearing my si belt all the time. I am very disheartened. Did you get a lot of cracking and popping? My buttocks feels irritated, too. I really need to have some hope. I am going to phone around too see if I can find a physiotherapist that believes I have si joint dysfunction. I’d appreciate and advise you can offer.
Please look for the most experienced physiotherapist you can find! You should specifically ask if they work with SI joint dysfunction. (Can’t believe the first physio said it doesn’t exist!).
If you can find a physiotherapist who is also a yoga therapist, that would be awesome. The PT/YT I saw after a car wreck in April 2022 caused some dysfunction gave me 6 exercises to do daily, and they made a huge difference.
I didn’t have much noise. Just pain.