Training Tuesdays: My SI Belt is out to Get Me

Almost immediately after my injury, I dusted off my old sacroiliac belt and commenced wearing it for virtually any activity that involved impact, jostling, bouncing, or the potential for me to trip, slip or fall. This has meant pretty much everything except casual walking on the street or my personal training sessions (where my trainer doesn’t want me to wear it so that I can better assess if motions cause aggravation).

I thought I was doing the right thing, providing much needed stabilization to a very unstable SI joint. I was sure it was saving me weeks of recovery time, particularly as I started to reintegrate hiking. But, since last week, I’ve decided that’s only what my SI belt wanted me to believe. It lulled me into a false sense of security and whispered promises of healing in my ear, only to turn around and stab me in the back.

My SI belt is out to get me.

Public enemy #1
Public enemy #1

After my most recent and acute attack of the SI, I was extra cautious and put the old SI belt into double rotation. I expected it to provide the soothing comfort of faux joint stability. Instead, my pain continued to worsen, the stiffness progressed, and by the end of the week I found myself unable to engage in the simplest of workouts. I was back to my remedial rehab exercises and walking. It made no sense.

Several days later, as I tried and failed to spin without pain, I ripped that SI belt off in a fit of rage only to discover an instant reduction in pain. At first, I thought it was just the beautiful lack of chaffing but then I noticed a) that I could move from seated to standing hover without pain b) I could sprint without jarring pain around my tailbone c) high tension seated climbs weren’t aggravating it and d) by the end of the workout I felt pretty much stiffness and pain free. All signs pointed to an evil spirit lurking within my SI belt.

Since my revelation, I have not used my SI belt at all, and I have only continued to see improvements, even after hiking. I don’t know why my SI belt would want to keep me in pain. Maybe it’s a desperate desire to be needed. Maybe it’s a ploy to avoid being permanently relegated to my storage locker–which, upon reflection, I completely understand as someone else’s hockey-gear-filled storage locker has made the whole space smell rank with sweat.  Either way, I’m not going down without a fight. It’s on SI belt. It’s on.

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