Belt Up Your Unstable SIJ
An unstable Sacro-illiac Joint (SIJ) can cause pain in the lower back and pelvic region. This happens when the core muscles surrounding it are too weak to support the SIJ. A sacroiliac support belt can help to provide support and stability to the joints during the initial stages of core stability training.
What is the Com-Pressor belt?
A popular sacroilliac support belt is “The Com-PressorTM” by Diane Lee, a leading physiotherapist in the field of SIJ disorders. The Com-Pressor belt consists of a belt which is worn around the pelvis and separate individual elastic straps that are velcro-ed onto it. The elastic straps with Velcro strips allow for specific tension to increase the amount of support. Do take note that the belt should not be worn on a long-term basis so as to prevent your body from over relying on it for support.
How does the Com-Pressor works?
The Com-Pressor belt does 2 things. Firstly, it stabilises the injured SIJ with a compressive force. Secondly, to provide cues (propioceptive feedback) to the brain, reminding it to contract muscles that stabilises the SIJ.
The individual straps allow for specific areas of the pelvis to be tightened for more compression or to provide cues for specific muscles to contract.
If you can recall your early experiences on a bicycle, someone will be holding on to your bicycle as you pedal to prevent you from falling over. If you keep leaning to your left, the person will push you towards the right to stop you from falling to the left. Once you pick up the skill of pedalling and balancing on two wheels, you would not need any help to stabilise. This is how the belt works; as a specific stabilising force while the body learns how and when to contract the appropriate muscles to stabilise itself.
When the core muscles are strong enough to contract appropriately, the use of belt will be weaned off progressively. A word of caution, extensive use of the belt can have a reverse effect when the muscles become lazy and over-reliant. Instead of strengthening, the core muscles will learn to “switch off” since the belt is taking over the role of the muscles.