A Randomized Clinical Trial of the Effectiveness of the Compression Belt for Patients with Sacroiliac Joint Pain
Background: The purpose of study is to examine the effect of the addition of a pelvic compression belt to a lumbopelvic stabilization program on disability, pain, and muscle thickness of the deep abdominals and perceived change due to intervention in patients with sacroiliac joint (SIJ) pain. Methods: Thirty participants with unilateral SIJ pain were recruited and randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups: lumbopelvic stabilization exercises plus belt (LSE+belt) or lumbopelvic stabilization exercises (LSE) alone. Both groups received the same lumbopelvic stabilization program for 12 weeks with first 4 weeks under supervision. The LSE+belt group also received a pelvic compression belt for the first 4 weeks. Outcome measures collected at baseline, 4 weeks and 12 weeks included the Modified Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire (OSW), Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS), and percent change of transverse abdominis (TrA) and internal oblique (IO) muscle thickness using ultrasound imaging. Perceived improvement using the Global Rating of Change (GROC) scale was collected at 4 weeks and 3 months. Four 2x3 ANOVAs (group x time) with repeated measures were used to examine the effect of the interventions on OSW scores, NPRS scores, and percent change of muscle thickness for the TrA and IO. Mann-Whitney U tests were used to analyze the GROC scores. Results: The ANOVA results revealed a significant interaction for percent change of TrA (p = 0.004), but not for the OSW, NPRS, or percent change of IO. Post-hoc analysis revealed that both groups increased the percent change of TrA from baseline to 4 weeks but decreased the percent change of TrA from 4 weeks to 3 months; however the LSE group demonstrated a greater decrease. Further, the results demonstrated that all participants had significant improvements in pain and disability over time. Lastly, all participants showed improved GROC scores at 4 weeks and 3 months but there was no significant difference between groups. Conclusion: LSE appear to reduce pain and disability in those with SIJ pain. However, the pelvic compression belt did not offer any additional benefit. Additionally, all patients had increased muscle thickness of TrA in the first 4 weeks when they received a supervised lumbopelvic stabilization program.