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Sacroiliac Joint Pain Symptoms & Diagnosis


Symptoms include:

  • Mild to severe low back pain
  • Pain in the buttocks
  • Pain that seems deep in the pelvis
  • Pain in the hip or groin or back of the thigh
  • Pain that radiates down the leg on the affected side
  • Stiffness of the lower spine
  • Certain activities may increase the pain, including:
    • Walking
    • Twisting
    • Bending
    • Stooping
    • Rolling over in bed
    • Getting up from a chair
    • Climbing the stairs
    • Coughing
    • Sneezing


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.

Tests may include:

  • X-rays of the pelvis and lower back
  • Bone scan —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)
  • CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the inside of the pelvis and sacroiliac joint
  • MRI scan —a test that uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to make pictures of the sacroiliac joints and the ligaments
  • Biopsy 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

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 medical condition. Copyright © 2020 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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