Sacroiliitis

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Sacroiliitis

Sacroiliitis is a painful condition in which one or both of the sacroiliac joints get inflamed. The sacroiliac joints are located where the spine and the pelvis meet. It is related to diseases that cause inflammatory arthritis in the spine and are often misdiagnosed as lower back pain.

Sometimes, sacroiliitis might also cause pain in the buttocks, and lower back as well in one or both legs.

Symptoms

The symptoms of sacroiliitis generally look similar to other lower back issues. However, it is specifically a kind of inflammation in the joint. Generally, pain in the lower back is the most common symptom. It is also sometimes accompanied by a low-grade fever.

The pain is generally worse after standing for a long period, climbing the stairs, or running or walking with long strides.

Causes

Several potential causes exist, which can cause inflammation in the sacroiliac joints. These include:

Ankylosing spondylitis- This is a progressive type of inflammatory arthritis that is known to affect the spine as well as the hips.

Trauma- A sudden traumatic injury can also cause damage to the sacroiliac joints as well as cause inflammation, leading to sacroiliitis.

Osteoarthritis- This can lead to inflammation in the sacroiliac joints and is also another underlying cause of sacroiliitis.

Pregnancy- When a woman is pregnant, the sacroiliac joints stretch to make room for the baby. This can put stress on the joints, which might lead to sacroiliitis.

Infection- If the sacroiliac joint gets infected, it may become inflamed.

In addition to these, there are a few more conditions that can make you more likely to develop sacroiliitis. They include:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Intravenous drug addiction
  • Endocarditis

Diagnosis

Sometimes, sacroiliitis can be hard to diagnose, as it is mistaken for lower back pain, caused by another condition such as sciatica.

Your doctor might press on the hip and button to move the legs and examine the sacroiliac joints.

Your doctor might need to inject a numbing solution to the joint, in order to determine whether the pain is coming from the sacroiliac joint.
An MRI might also be helpful for diagnosis if your doctor thinks it is necessary.

Treatment

Depending on your signs and symptoms, treatment is going to vary.

Medications

If your pain is severe, then your doctor is likely going to prescribe pain medication or a muscle relaxer to help since muscle spasms are quite common.

Therapy

Physical therapy can also prove to be extremely beneficial. Your doctor or physical therapist can help you to learn range-of-motion as well as stretching exercises to maintain the flexibility of the joint, as well as strengthening exercises to make the muscles more stable.

If the above methods are not able to help in relieving your pain, your doctor can suggest any of the following:

Joint Injections

Corticosteroids can be injected into the joints to reduce pain and inflammation. However, you should get only a few joint injections a year since steroids can weaken the bones and tendons of your joint.

Radiofrequency denervation

Radiofrequency energy can damage or destroy the nerve tissue which is leading to your pain.

Joint fusion

Surgery is rarely used to treat sacroiliitis. It fuses the two bones together with metal hardware and can sometimes help to relieve sacroiliitis pain.

Electrical stimulation

Implanting an electrical stimulator into the sacrum can help to reduce pain which is caused by sacroiliitis.

Complications

Like other conditions that cause chronic pain; sacroiliitis can cause pain, depression, and insomnia.

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