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.
Doctors may be unsure if the pain starts in the joint or in its surrounding ligaments. Ligaments are bands of tissue that connect one bone to another bone. It is also difficult to tell if the pain is coming from the sacroiliac joint or the small joints in the lower spine. These smaller joints are called facet joints.
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
Pain that radiates down the leg on the affected side
Stiffness of the lower spine
Certain activities may increase the pain, including:
Rolling over in bed
Getting up from a chair
Climbing the stairs
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.
—injection of radioactive material into the body, followed by scanning with a machine that will find areas with higher concentrations of the injected material (these are areas of abnormal bone activity)
—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the inside of the pelvis and sacroiliac joint
—a test that uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to make pictures of the sacroiliac joints and the ligaments
or aspiration—removal of a sample of tissue from the joint for testing
Joint injections or nerve blocks—injection of a drug that blocks nerve signals into the joint to determine if the pain starts in the joint
Treatment depends on the cause of the pain. Any underlying condition would receive treatment specific for that disease. For stress fractures, doctors recommend limited weight-bearing. Regardless of the cause, short-term rest is often advised.
Other treatment may include:
Your doctor may recommend or prescribe any of the following:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as:
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a