Sacroiliac joints are the joints located in the pelvic bone that connect to the lower spine. They act as shock absorbers to the spine through a gliding movement. Sacroiliitis is an inflammation of these joints, and is characterised by pain and stiffness in your buttocks and lower back, which may radiate to your groin, thighs and feet. Pain may become severe with prolonged standing or sitting, climbing, walking and running. Other symptoms such as eye inflammation, psoriasis (inflammatory skin condition), bloody diarrhea and low-grade fever may occur in rare cases.
Sacroiliitis may be caused due to a traumatic injury (fall or motor vehicle accident), degenerative arthritis, infection and lifting heavy weights. Women are generally considered to be at a risk of developing sacroiliitis during pregnancy, as the pelvic area stretches to allow childbirth.
When you present to your doctor’s clinic with lower back pain, your doctor will perform a thorough physical examination, during which pressure is applied to certain points on your hips and buttocks, and your legs are moved in different positions to determine the region of pain. Your doctor may also order an X-ray and MRI scan. Sometimes, an anaesthetic injection is administered at various points to see if your pain is relieved. This helps diagnose the exact point of pain.
Treatment of sacroiliitis focuses on relieving symptoms and improving function. Your doctor may prescribe analgesics and muscle relaxants to reduce pain and alleviate muscle spasms. Spinal injections, containing a local anaesthetic and steroid, may be injected to relieve pain. Physical therapy may be ordered to improve range of motion, flexibility and strength of the joints. Surgery is rare and recommended when these methods do not provide relief. Joint fusion may be performed to fuse two bones with metal hardware.