Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction can be caused by SI joints that are either hypomobile or hypermobile, with the latter being more common. There are various strategies used to decrease pain and inflammation that occurs from excess motion of the SI joint.
There are braces and belts specifically designed to reduce the motion of the SI joint. Most braces wrap around the pelvis and have a Velcro closure. They are meant to give compression around the pelvis and reduce excess motion of the SI joint. The belt is usually low-profile and worn low on the hips and across the upper buttocks. Maternity belts serve a similar purpose and can be used instead of a specific SI belt. In some instances, a higher-profile belt might be helpful. A wider back brace can be useful since it provides support to both the lower-back and the SI joint.
Physical therapy (PT) should be used in conjunction with other methods to reduce SI joint hypermobility. The goal is to strengthen the muscles that surround the joint so they act as a natural brace and restrict movement. Some of the muscles specifically targeted by PT include the glutes and hamstrings. If possible, squats and lunges can work many different muscles in the lower body simultaneously. Simpler exercises include clam shells (an exercise where you lie on your side) and glute bridges. As you become stronger, your physical therapist may suggest doing weighted glute bridges or using a resistance band above your knees as you perform the exercise.
SI Joint Injections
Injections can reduce inflammation at the SI joint. These injections typically have a combination of a local anesthetic and steroids. The local anesthetic will provide fast, temporary pain relief. Depending on the specific type of local anesthetic used, it may work for several hours after the injection. The fast-acting pain relief from the local anesthetic can also be helpful if doctors are unsure of the source of the pain. If an injection is given in the SI joint and pain relief does not happen quickly, this is an indication the source of the pain is elsewhere. Over the coming days, the steroid will begin to work. For some people, the benefits of a steroid injection may last several months.
Many instances of SI joint hypermobility can be fixed without the use of pain medication or surgery. The key to reducing pain is reducing the excess motion and inflammation in and around the SI joint. For more assistance, contact chronic pain treatment services like Inland Pain Medicine.