Sacroiliac Joint Pain

The sacroiliac joint is in the low back where the spine meets the pelvis. Sacroiliac joint pain is discomfort in this area. This pain is a symptom that may come from a number of conditions or diseases.

  • Causes

    Pain may start in the joint, or in surrounding ligaments or nerves. Ligaments are bands of tissue that connect one bone to another. The sacroiliac joint has many nerve endings. The nerves send pain signals to the brain. Pain in this region may be caused by many factors.

    • Twisting, bending, or moving in a way that triggers sacroiliac joint pain
    • Infection of the joint
    • Osteoarthritis
      of the joint, which is more common in older adults
    • Trauma, such as an auto accident
    • Stress fractures, which is common
      in athletes
    • Pregnancy

    • Inflammation of the joint, which can occur with
      ankylosing spondylitis

  • Definition

    The sacroiliac joint is in the low back where the spine meets the pelvis. Sacroiliac joint pain is discomfort in this area. This pain is a symptom that may come from a number of conditions or diseases.

    Sacroiliac Joint
    sacroiliac joint
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  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Finding the source of sacroiliac joint pain is often difficult. Tests depend on your medical history and the suspected cause.

    Tests may include:


    • Imaging tests with
      x-rays
      or
      a
      CT scan
    • Joint injections or nerve blocks to determine if the pain starts in the joint

  • Prevention

    To reduce your chance of developing sacroiliac joint pain, take these steps:

    • Exercise regularly to keep muscles strong
    • Maintain good posture
    • Use proper techniques for bending, lifting, or playing sports

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase your chance for sacroiliac joint pain include:

    • Weak muscles
    • Bending or twisting the back
    • Improper lifting

    • Inflammatory conditions, such as ankylosing spondylitis or
      psoriatic arthritis
    • Falling or taking awkward steps off a curb or step

  • Symptoms

    Sacroiliac joint pain may cause:

    • Mild-to-severe low back pain
    • Pain in the buttocks
    • Pain that seems deep in the pelvis
    • Pain in the hip or groin or back of the thigh
    • Pain that radiates down the leg on the affected side
    • Stiffness of the lower spine
    • Certain activities may increase the pain, such as walking, twisting, or bending

  • Treatment

    Treatment depends on the cause of the pain. Any underlying condition would receive treatment specific for that disease. Regardless of the cause, short-term rest is often advised.

    Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options may include one or more of the following: