One of the biggest things you need to keep in mind, in terms of stabilizing your SI joints, is allowing any potential ligament sprains in the area to heal.
There are a bunch of different factors to keep in mind here:
Modifying your movement patterns and daily activities to avoid re-spraining the ligaments
I personally had to learn to change the way I move, and also avoid certain activities that were bound to make my joints lock up (such as trying to go grocery shopping on a crowded Saturday morning).
If you have a ligament sprain, you need to give that ligament a chance to rest. Ligaments that have been sprained, or stretched out, do not always recover completely, but you need to give your body a chance to do what healing it can. You definitely won’t get better as long as you’re accidentally re-injuring the area every day.
Build up your muscle strength, particularly the core, hip, and back muscles.
When your muscles are strong, they help to absorb a lot of the forces that would otherwise be traveling across your ligaments as you walk, lift things, and otherwise go about your day.
Having strong muscles takes some of the stress off of your ligaments so you can heal, and also helps to optimize your movement patterns and prevent recurrence of the injury in the future.
SI joint belts and Taping
You may have heard of options such as SI joint belts and taping, which designed to provide support to the area around your joints.
In each case, you are adding something externally to the area to provide stability, which again, is meant to reduce the amount of force travelling across the ligaments, and help hold the joints in place.
I tried both an SI joint belt and taping under the guidance of a PT. Personally, I felt like both options made my SI joints feel like they were about to lock up, so I took them off really quickly.
However, SI joint dysfunction can be so different in different people, because our joints themselves can be shaped so differently.
So just because they didn’t work for me, it doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it for you to try them. I didn’t like them because I felt like they were restricting my motion, but I have heard anecdotal stories of people who liked both.
You can buy them directly yourself, but like everything, I totally recommend consulting a PT to make sure you’re using them right. Here are some examples:
Explanation of SI belts from Sam Visnic:
There are also different types of taping techniques you can look into.
The kind I tried for my SIJ’s was Kinesiotape. I’ve used it for my knees in the past, and it was really a miracle cure for the problem I had there (chondromalaica patella). I didn’t like the SIJ application, but I still really respect Kinesiotape in general (and definitely get annoyed when I hear people say it’s just a fad!).
There’s also KT tape, which I tried for my knees and didn’t like.
There is also regular athletic tape, which has been around for a lot longer. Here’s an example of that approach from Champion Fitness Physical Therapy:
Lastly, Vicki Sims also outlines a few additional taping techniques in her book The Secret Cause of Low Back Pain (which I’ve been meaning to review). Not all of her techniques worked for me, but I still think her work is worth checking out.
These are some of the major factors for you to be aware of.
Ultimately, it all comes down to striking the right balance between strengthening your muscles and allowing your ligaments to heal– using whatever tools turn out to be helpful for that.
I’ve linked to some of my most relevant posts above, but I thought I’d also give you some “recommended reading” in list form, because honestly, sometimes even I forget what I’ve written on here!
Modifying movement patterns
- Key Point #3: Adjusting my own movement patterns
- The SI joint is like a puzzle
- Positions where the SI joint is more or less stable
Building muscle strength
- Key Point #4: Muscle strength vs endurance
- The goal of strengthening is to maximize your body’s own support system
- When muscle strength finally takes over for weak ligaments
- The most important place to start strengthening: the core & transverse abdominis
- Three major muscle groups to strengthen for SI joint dysfunction
Any comments or questions, you’re always welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment below!