...IN CHOOSING THE CORRECT BELT, WE MUST CONSIDER THE FUNCTION OF LIGAMENTS
- Ligaments Establish A Stop Point at end of range of motion
- Ligaments Are Essentially Non-Elastic - elasticity cannot establish a stop point
- Ligaments Do Not Compress The Joint - they allow movement within normal range of motion.
BIOMECHANICAL STUDIES HAVE FOUND THAT THE CORRECT TENSION FOR APPLICATION OF AN SI BELT IS ABOUT WHAT YOU WOULD USE TO TIE A SHOE.
Within the SI Joint, the only means of fluid exchange for inflow of nutrients and outflow of metabolic wastes is pressure variance. Cinch the belt too tight and you can easily reduce movement below normal, thereby reducing the normal pumping mechanism; this allows a buildup of metabolic toxins, leading to joint irritation and edema.
Elastic belts, on the other hand, fail to provide a stop point for excess motion, allowing ligament stretching, causing activation of the arthrokinetic reflex, dissipation of forces and continued hypermobility. Elastic cannot replace a ligament, but it can allow better functioning of the muscles and other elastic tissue once a stop point is established by non-elastic material.
PROPER APPLICATION INVOLVES ENVISIONING WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH.
The receptors in the ligaments that activate the arthrokinetic reflex (causing spasm) are activated by irritation of the sprained ligament, induced either chemically through hypomobility or mechanically through stretching. The key is to apply the non-elastic layer tight enough to compress the soft tissues of the hips so that their resilience does not allow the SI ligaments to stretch beyond normal range of motion, but not so tight that we reduce motion below normal. Next, we should consider the secondary stabilizers (muscles and elastic tissue) that have been under strain to support the joint; an elastic layer is then applied to assist their action (within normal range of motion established by the first layer) and give them a chance to heal.
THE SEROLA SACROILIAC BELT COMBINES THE BEST OF BOTH; a non-elastic layer that acts as a stop point, with strong enough elastic to provide the correct compression and resilience to approximate the normal motion of the joint. Together, these forces support, rather than hinder, the underlying mechanism of pressure variance, cranio-sacral motion, and resist external forces that may be placed upon the joint by lifting, twisting, or bending.
WHY NOT A SACRAL PAD? Proper placement of a pad should be well below S2 to rotate the sacral apex anteriorly and the base posteriorly into it’s articulation with the ilia. However, proper placement of the belt would put the pad at or above S2 in most people, thereby pushing the base away from the ilia, opening the joint, stressing the ligaments, & causing increased spasm.
THE KEY IS NORMALIZATION, RATHER THAN SIMPLY STABILIZATION!
By normalizing the mechanics of the joint, we normalize it’s physiology, including muscle strength, proprioception, and fluid exchange dynamics. Normal function allows proper healing.