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Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Sacroiliac Joint Anatomy

The sacrum is the triangular-shaped bone at the bottom of the spine, below the lumbar spine. The sacroiliac joint is a large joint in the body, formed by the connection of the sacrum and the right and left iliac (pelvic) bones. The sacroiliac joint acts as a shock-absorbing structure. They have a small amount of movement and transmit all the forces of the upper body to the lower body. 

What is Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction?

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction or sacroiliac joint pain is one of the common causes of low back pain. 

Causes of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

The causes of sacroiliac joint dysfunction include:

  • Traumatic injuries caused when there is a sudden impact
  • Biomechanical problems such as twisted pelvis, leg length discrepancies or muscle imbalances
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy
  • Inflammatory joint conditions such as arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis

Symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

The most common symptom of sacroiliac joint dysfunction is pain. You may experience pain in the lower back, thigh, groin or buttocks that radiates down the leg. The pain is typically worse with standing and walking and is relieved on resting. Other symptoms include limping, fever, psoriasis, eye inflammation and limited range of motion. 

Diagnosis of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Proper diagnosis is essential because the symptoms mimic other common conditions, including sciatica, herniated discs or other low back pain problems. Sacroiliac joint pain is diagnosed by reviewing your medical history and performing a physical examination. Other imaging studies such as X-rays, MRI, CT scan and bone scan may be needed to determine the extent of joint damage. 

Treatment for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

Treatment for sacroiliac joint dysfunction includes adequate rest, use of pain medications, wearing a sacroiliac belt to stabilize the joint and physical therapy. Corticosteroid injections may be administered to reduce pain and inflammation.

Surgery may be considered if you do not respond to a conservative line of management. 

For severe cases of pain, one or a combination of the above treatments may be effective.

  • Oregon Medical Association
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Scoliosis Research Society
  • North American Spine Society