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If you’re suffering from any pain related to the hip joint then it might be due to Sacroiliitis. But it could also be due to Osteoarthritis. So, how can you differentiate between these two?

We cover all the information that you are looking for i.e. its types, symptoms, preventions, and treatments. So, let’s first discuss what Sacroiliitis actually is.

What is Sacroiliitis?

What is Sacroiliitis?

Sacroiliitis is a painful condition at the joints of the spine and pelvis, also called sacroiliac joints. In humans, there are two sacroiliac joints on either side of the pelvis. Therefore, the pain and inflammation could happen either or both of the sacroiliac joints.

This painful condition may cause other painful sensation in the buttocks or lower back region to the ankle of the legs.

This condition usually arrives in improper sitting habits, prolonged standing, injury, infection of the pelvis, etc. However, they are hard to diagnose because it could be easily mistaken as lower back pain.

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Causes of Sacroiliitis

Causes of Sacroiliitis

While talking about causes, the inflammation in sacroiliac joints could be due to many reasons. But the most common causes are:

Ankylosing Spondylitis

It is a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects the spine and hip joints. This is a progressive condition of ankylosing spondylitis where the inflammation and stiffness are common in the spine and hip joints.

Osteoarthritis

They are caused by excessive use of spine and hip muscle that causes wear-and-tear in them. They are common in athletes, football players, etc. So, due to the overuse of sacroiliac joints it could generate sacroiliitis.

Trauma or Injury

Any traumatic event that leads to hip, spine, or pelvis injury could damage the sacroiliac joints. And finally, it could cause inflammation of sacroiliac joints.

Pregnancy

During the infant development in the womb of the mother, the pelvis region becomes bigger that exerts pressure on the sacroiliac joints. And that’s the only reason why pregnant women develop sacroiliitis’s inflammation.

Infections

There are certain bacteria that can cause sacroiliac joint infection. One of the major threatening bacterial species is enterococcus. If you want to learn more about this bacterial gene, please check the link.

In addition, other infections such as UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) can also be a leading cause of sacroiliitis conditions.

Note: In very rare cases, endocarditis and intravenous (IV) drug addiction could cause sacroiliitis conditions in humans.

Symptoms of Sacroiliitis

Symptoms of Sacroiliitis

The symptoms of sacroiliitis are commonly misinterpreted as lower back pain. But after close examination and closer look it can be differentiated from other back pains. And these are the most common symptoms of this inflammation condition.

  • Pain and inflammation in the buttocks, lower back, and posterior side of one or both legs.
  • Fever due to pain which mostly mild
  • Stiffness in the hips and lower back
  • Pain in hips and feet— rare

However, if you have sacroiliitis then the following activities might dwell you in pain.

  • Prolonged sitting or standing
  • Standing on one leg— bodyweight usually on one leg
  • Frequently climbing the stairs
  • Long strides while walking and running
  • A habit of sleeping on one side.

Diagnosis for Sacroiliitis

Diagnosis for Sacroiliitis

For diagnosing the sacroiliitis, your doctor may first ask about the medical history, especially related to your previous inflammatory disorder or diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, or cancer

After a preliminary inspection, your doctor now advises some series of imaging and blood tests. 

Physical Examination

In the physical examination, a doctor might first examine any injury or bruises over the lower spine region. He/she may also check for the alignment and rotation factor of the sacroiliac joints.

After testing the movement disorder in the sacroiliac joints, doctors may apply some pressure to the spine, hips, and sacroiliac joints. Now, based on the pain distribution in these areas, the doctor may conclude whether you have sacroiliitis or not.

Note: Generally, the higher the number of paining areas higher the chance that you have sacroiliac joint inflammation. 

Blood Culture Test

These are generally useful when this inflammation is due to some bacterial growth. The blood sample usually is taken from the infected area to get more accurate results.

So, an intravenous syringe is used to remove the joints fluids for blood culture. 

Imaging Tests 

If there is a case of a traumatic injury, an x-ray would be beneficent revealing the sign of damage to the sacroiliac joints.

But if in case of inflammation due to muscles, MRI is recommended by the doctor. So, with the help of an MRI scan, a doctor can easily study the cross-sectional details of both the bone and soft tissues.

Anesthetic Injections

They are not just the diagnosis test but a temporary treatment to reduce the sacroiliac inflammation.

They are generally given to those people whose inflammation and pain is unbearable. And during the procedure, injection is employed with the guidance of a live x-ray.

Treatment For Sacroiliitis

Treatment For Sacroiliitis

There are basically two broad categories for the treatment of Sacroiliitis; one is medication and the other is surgical therapy. 

Medicational Drugs

Medications are generally employed to relieve the pain and inflammation of sacroiliac joint pain. And these are the following drugs:

Pain Relievers

They are often recommended by the doctors to counter the pain of sacroiliitis. And based on the preliminary relief factors the doctor might increase or decrease the drug content or number of dosage.

Muscle Relaxants

When the cause of pain is due to overuse or damage of muscle tissue then muscle relaxant drugs or intravenous injections are helpful. Some commonly used muscle relaxants are chlorobenzene

TNF Inhibitors

When you’re suffering from ankylosing spondylitis and TNF inhibitors are used to reduce the sacroiliitis condition. Some commonly used inhibitors are Enbrel, Humira, and Remicade.

Surgical Therapy and Injection

These are the following surgical therapy and injections that are commonly used to treat sacroiliac joint inflammation, both permanently and temporarily. 

Joint Injections

Medication such as corticosteroids can be injected directly into the sacroiliac joints. They are generally injected only a few times in the year. This is because, these sedatives can weaken joints, tendons, and muscles. 

Radiofrequency Denervation

They are used to destroy any sensory parts that cause inflammation. And to destroy these muscles and tissues, radiofrequency is very useful.

Electrical Stimulation

In this case, an electrical stimulator is directly placed into the sacrum area to reduce the pain receptors to reach the brain. And if the pain receptors signal doesn’t reach the brain, you didn’t feel the pain at all.

Joint Fusion

Joint fusion, in general, is very rare. But it could be employed to fuse two bones together to relieve the inflammation from sacroiliitis pain.

Physical Therapy

There are certain physical therapy and stretches exercises that may decrease the pain. However, there are certain stretches too that can cause more inflammation in the sacroiliac joints.

Therefore, one should always try to hire some expert therapists to guide you the right way of doing physical exercises and stretches.

Exercises For Sacroiliitis Pain

In general, there are two common exercises that can help you to minimize the pain and inflammation from sacroiliitis. These are:

Hip Flexion Stretch

With hip flexion stretch, one is able to rectify the pain of rectus femoris, psoas, sacroiliac tendons, and sartorius muscles.

To perform this stretch, follow these guidelines:

  1. Use a block to lay down your legs on it. Meanwhile you lie straight on your back.
  2. Now, fold one foot over the other.
  3. With a little pressure, squeeze your legs together, hold, and release.
  4. Now, repeat this procedure several times and then switch the legs.

Hip Adduction Isometric Hold

This is how you can do hip adduction Isometric hold for the first time.

  • First, place a ball between your ankles.
  • Then, lie straight on your back.
  • Now, try to squeeze the ball with your legs. This time you feel tightness in your lower back and abdominal muscles.
  • Hold the position for at least 20 to 30 seconds. And then relax. 
  • While holding the ball you shouldn’t hold breaths. 

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Summary 

The term sacroiliitis is used to define an inflammatory condition of the sacroiliac joints between the spine and pelvis.

There are many reasons due to which this painful inflammation occurs. Some causes are infection, injury, pregnancy, and diseases like ankylosing spondylitis and osteoarthritis.

To treat this inflammation, a doctor might use surgical therapies or injections. But in the general scenario, pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs are used to decrease the pain and inflammation of the sacroiliac joints.

However, some hip exercises are effective in relieving the pain of sacroiliitis. So, if you have sacroiliac joint pain, try to add hip flexion exercises in your life.

General FAQ

What is the treatment for sacroiliitis?

Ans. For treating sacroiliitis, doctors may prescribe physical therapy and exercise along with some anti-inflammatory drugs.

Is walking good for sacroiliac joint pain?

Ans. Walking is good for the sacroiliac joint. But you should take short strides and also avoid too long walking and standing.

Can sacroiliitis be seen on an X-ray?

Ans. Only if the pain is due to some structure disorder and injury of the sacroiliac joint. And in most cases, the doctor usually prescribes an MRI imaging scan.

How does sacroiliac pain differ from sciatica?

Ans. Sacroiliac pain is a pain of the sacroiliac joint which is the joint of the spine and pelvis. While in the case of sciatica pain, it is a pain due to the ruptured spine disk, from direct pressure on the sciatic nerve, spinal stenosis, and injury to pelvis or hip.

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