Sacroiliac joint dysfunction (also called SI joint pain) can cause lower back pain. It can also cause pain and discomfort in the spine, buttocks, pelvis, groin, and sometimes in the legs. After diagnosis, the appropriate first stage of care is conservative or non-surgical care. This can include pain medication, chiropractic care, physical therapy, therapeutic SI joint injections, and lower back braces, specifically, SI joint belts.
A back brace can help temporarily relieve lower back pain caused by a dysfunctional SI joint.
What is the best support for lower back pain caused by sacroiliac joint (SI joint) dysfunction?
Your doctor may recommend a variety of methods to support your lower back and SI joint. Chiropractors, surgeons, and healthcare providers that specialize in SI joint pain may recommend bracing (in addition to other lifestyle modifications, including physical therapy and exercise) as part of your treatment to help reduce lower back pain caused by the SI joint and to improve overall function and quality of life.
When searching for the best back support belt for lower back pain, look for one that is specific to SI joint pain. They may also be labeled as an SI joint brace or band, an SI joint stabilization belt, or a sacral belt. No matter what it is called, it should be a strap or belt that is not stretchy or elastic. It wraps around the pelvis to provide lower back support, or more accurately, SI joint support.
Your doctor should be able to provide recommendations for the best back brace for lower back pain for your situation. He or she also may provide guidance on when and how long to use a back brace.
Why can the SI joint cause lower back pain?
When people think of lower back pain, they often first think of lumbar spine pain or a pulled muscle in the lower back. Lower back pain can be caused by a number of things, and only a doctor can accurately diagnose the source of your ongoing discomfort.
SI joint pain is typically caused by either trauma or degeneration. Trauma can include an accident or fall, natural childbirth, pregnancy, or any number of events that stress, stretch, or injury the joints. Degeneration can be caused by another surgery, bone graft, a bone infection, or another reason.
The sacroiliac joint is located in the pelvis (what people might consider the lower back or upper buttocks). View these images of the SI joint location in the body.
SI joints transfer weight and forces from your upper body through the pelvis to your legs . SI joint dysfunction can cause pain in other areas of the body, including your lower back, buttocks, groin, or legs.
Chronic lower back pain from the SI joint can have an extreme impact on daily activities and quality of life. If you have not already talked to a doctor about your treatment options, including lower back braces and belts for the sacroiliac joint, now is the time.
Should I use a back brace for lower back pain?
If you’ve done an Internet search, you may have found what seems to be the perfect lower back brace for pain, but before you buy, know that not all back braces are created equal or made for the same purpose. Choosing the wrong brace or wearing it improperly can cause more harm than good, so it’s highly recommended you talk to your doctor about your specific needs. If you don’t have a doctor that has been trained in diagnosing and treating SI joint dysfunction, you can use this tool to search for trained healthcare providers in your area.
After searching the Internet, you may have also seen highly regarded resources offering similar information on lower back belts for pain management of an unstable SI joint such as:
“Belts applied to hold the sacroiliac joints in place have equal benefit as a home exercise program or a structured clinical exercise program in pregnancy-induced sacroiliac joint dysfunction,”125 noted the National Library of Medicine, drawing from a study published in Spine125.
“Nonoperative management of SI joint dysfunction includes exercise programs, physical therapy, manual manipulation therapy, sacroiliac belts, and periodic articular injections. Efficacy of these methods is variable…”126 according to a study published in Federal Practitioner and referenced by the National Library of Medicine.
In any case, note that lower back support for chronic SI joint pain can temporarily relieve the pain and enable you to do the things you love. If it turns out you need a longer-term solution, talk to your doctor about your options.
Will a back brace help with chronic lower back pain?
If you are diagnosed with SI joint dysfunction, your doctor may recommend an SI joint belt or brace to temporarily help decrease the lower back pain you feel. Many different types of belts for back pain are available.
A belt for back pain may help in tandem with other therapies. If non-surgical treatments do not help or your pain worsens after six months of care, you might consider talking to a surgeon that specializes in minimally invasive SI joint fusion. You can find doctors trained in SI joint treatments with this tool.
Additional resources for lower back pain support
- What is SI joint dysfunction?
- In addition to lower back pain braces, what are some other conservative therapies for SI joint pain?
- How can a doctor tell whether my lower back pain is caused by the SI joint?
- Patient story: Bob uses a belt for lower back pain caused by the SI joint.
- Patient story: Sarah uses a lower back pain brace after a fall to help ease SI joint pain during daily activities.
- When lower back pain braces and other therapies don’t work: SI joint fusion.