Sacroiliitis is the term used to describe any type of inflammation in the sacroiliac joint. The sacroiliac joint is located on either side of the lower spine (sacrum) and is comprised of the large triangular bone just below the lumbar spine and above the tailbone, connecting to the iliac bone in the hip.
Whereas the majority of the bones in the spine are mobile and flexible, the sacrum does not have a lot of range in motion. It is made up of 5 vertebrae that are fused together and are responsible for carrying the majority of your weight when you walk, stand and sit. This joint is small yet very strong, and reinforced by surrounding tough ligaments. It works to transmit the forces of the upper body to the pelvis and legs. Since this joint acts as a shock-absorbing structure, it is often the source of lower back pain, hip pain and even unexplained thigh pain.
What Causes Sacroiliac Joint Pain?
Sacroiliac joint pain can be caused by a few common agitators in the absence of injury. As we age, the cartilage that covers the joint and acts as a shock absorber between the bones can begin to wear down. When this occurs, the bones begin to rub together and can cause a great deal of pain. When this cartilage is damaged, degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis) can occur.
Pregnancy is another common reason for experiencing sacroiliac joint pain. During pregnancy, a hormone is released by the woman’s body to help relax the ligaments that hold the joints together, preparing the body for childbirth. Subsequently, any change to the ligament can cause problems down the road. The increased motion of these joints can eventually lead to increased stresses and abnormal wear. During pregnancy, the added weight and altered walking pattern that this causes can also place additional stress on the sacroiliac joints.
In addition to pregnancy, any condition or event that changes the individual’s normal walking pattern can be bad news for the SI joints. This may include a leg length discrepancy, or pain in the foot, ankle, knee or hip. There are a number of other disorders that can also impact the body’s joints and lead to inflammation of the sacroiliac joints. These conditions can include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, gout and ankylosing spondylitis.
Sacroilitis is a chronic condition where there is continued SI joint pain. The cause is not always known, but there are some effective treatments available to help control this pain. Many patients suffering from sacroiliitis find relief from steroid injections administered directly into the joint. This is done using fluoroscopic (live x-ray) guidance to ensure proper placement of the needle. These injections typically include both a numbing agent and a strong anti-inflammatory medication. Steroid injections can usually be done up to 3 – 4 times a year depending on the patient.
Physical therapy has also been shown to be very effective in sacroiliac joint pain treatment. Sometimes simply correcting your gait (walking pattern) can make a huge difference. Anti-inflammatory medications and oral steroids may also be helpful in controlling symptoms related to sacroiliitis.
In general, your Austin sacroiliitis treatment plan will depend largely on the extent of damage to the joint and will usually be accompanied by physical therapy to help restore proper range of motion and rehabilitation. In most cases, a combination of therapies is ideal. In severe cases where the pain interferes with the patient’s everyday life, surgery may be considered as an option, if more conservative approaches have proved to be ineffective.
Schedule an Appointment for Sacroiliitis Treatment in Austin
At the Diagnostic Pain Center in Austin, we see patients with a wide variety of pain problems, including sacroiliitis. Sacroiliac joint pain is a condition that Dr. Robert Marks, Dr. Sauman Rafii, Dr. Ivan Chew and our skilled medical team are experienced at treating.
If you would like to schedule a visit to learn more about sacroiliitis treatment in Austin, please give our office a call today at (512) 981-7246. You may also request an appointment online using our convenient appointment request form.