The joints at which your lower spine and pelvis connect are known as the sacroiliac joints. Pain and inflammation in these joints is known as sacroiliitis, which is associated with a group of conditions causing inflammatory arthritis of the spine. Patients with the condition experience pain in their lower back and buttocks that may extend down their legs. However, there are various causes of lower back pain, which makes it tricky to diagnose. Patients with the condition are typically treated with a variety of methods involving a mixture of rest, drug treatment and physiotherapy.
The condition is characterized by pain in the lower back and buttocks, which may extend into the legs, hips, groin and foot. The pain may be exacerbated by prolonged sitting or standing, rolling over in bed, climbing stairs, taking long strides, running, or putting your weight onto one leg. You may also experience stiffness in the back and hips, particularly after sleeping or long periods of sitting. In addition, the condition may cause fevers.
Various factors and events predispose patients to sacroiliac joint dysfunction, including:
Your doctor will perform physical tests on the leg, hip and buttock area to determine the source of the pain. Injections of an anesthetic into the sacroiliac joint may also help to pin down the source of pain – if this anesthetic provides relief, the problem is likely to be located within this joint. In addition, X-rays and MRI may be used to visualize the pelvis.
The specific treatment regime for each patient will depend on the underlying cause of the condition, and the type and severity of their symptoms. Using a mixture of non-surgical methods works for many patients in alleviating their symptoms, although surgical options are available for severe cases.
Sacroiliac joint inflammation may be reduced by avoiding or at least modifying any activity that exacerbates the pain. It is also important to develop and maintain proper posture.
The use of heat and coldness may give some local relief from the pain. An ice pack applied to the area helps to reduce inflammation. Holding a warm press to the joint may soothe any discomfort, stimulate blood flow and attract restorative nutrients to the joint.
Night-time and morning pain may be reduced by modifying your sleep posture. Many sacroiliitis patients find that sleeping on their side, with a pillow placed between the knees to correctly align the hips, is most comfortable.
The majority of treatment plans for sacroiliac joint disorders include a specific set of exercises consisting of stretching, strengthening and low-impact aerobic conditioning. These exercises will usually be assisted by a physiotherapist, chiropractor, or other trained healthcare professional.
Watch the following to learn more exercises:
The injection of corticosteroids directly into the joint can alleviate pain and inflammation. However, these corticosteroid injections should only be administered a few times a year, as the drugs can weaken the sacroiliac bones and tendons.
In severe cases where the pain is not relieved by non-surgical methods and the condition is affecting everyday life, surgery may be required. Sacroiliac joint fusion uses metal implants to fuse the sacrum and ileum together in order to alleviate the pain.