What are the Symptoms of Sacroiliitis?

Sacroiliitis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the sacroiliac (SI) joints, which are located in the lower back and connect the spine to the pelvis. The symptoms of sacroiliitis can vary in severity and may include:

  • Lower Back Pain: Pain and discomfort in the lower back, often on one side. The pain can be dull, aching, or sharp and may extend into the buttocks or the back of the thigh.
  • Pelvic Pain: Pain in the pelvic region, which may be deep and localized to the sacroiliac joints.
  • Pain with Movement: Pain tends to worsen with certain movements, such as standing from a seated position, walking, or climbing stairs.
  • Stiffness: Stiffness in the lower back and hips, which may be more pronounced in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
  • Pain on One Side: In many cases, sacroiliitis is asymmetrical, meaning it affects one side of the body more than the other.
  • Reduced Range of Motion: Individuals may experience limitations in their ability to bend, twist, or perform movements that involve the lower back and hips.
  • Radiating Pain: Pain from the sacroiliac joints can sometimes radiate into the groin, thighs, or even down to the knees.
  • Pain with Weight Bearing: Discomfort and pain can intensify when bearing weight on the affected side, such as when standing on one leg or when lifting the leg.
  • Altered Gait: People with sacroiliitis may change their gait or walking pattern to reduce pain, which can affect the way they move.

Sacroiliitis is often associated with an underlying condition, such as ankylosing spondylitis, spondyloarthritis, or other inflammatory diseases. It can also be caused by trauma, pregnancy, or other factors that place stress on the sacroiliac joints.

Diagnosing sacroiliitis typically involves a physical examination, medical history review, and imaging studies, such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) scans. Blood tests may be performed to look for markers of inflammation in the body.

The treatment of sacroiliitis depends on the underlying cause and the severity of symptoms. Management may include:

  • Pain Relief: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other pain-relief medications.
  • Physical Therapy: Exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and posture.
  • Injections: Corticosteroid injections into the sacroiliac joint may provide temporary relief.
  • Biologic Medications: In cases related to inflammatory conditions, biologic medications may be prescribed.
  • Heat or Cold Therapy: Application of heat or cold to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Surgery: Rarely, surgery may be considered in severe cases when other treatments have not been effective.

Management of sacroiliitis should be tailored to the individual and the underlying cause, so individuals experiencing symptoms should seek evaluation and guidance from a healthcare provider, typically a rheumatologist or orthopedic specialist.

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