What are the sacroiliac (SI) joints?
The sacroiliac (SI) joints are formed by the connection of the sacrum and the right and left iliac bones. The sacrum is the triangular-shaped bone in the lower portion of the spine, centrally located below the lumbar spine. While most of the bones (vertebrae) of the spine are mobile, the sacrum is made up of five vertebrae that are fused together and do not move. The iliac bones are the two large bones that make up the pelvis. As a result, the SI joints connect the spine to the pelvis. The sacrum and the iliac bones (ileum) are held together by a collection of strong ligaments. There is relatively little motion at the SI joints. There are normally less than 4 degrees of rotation and 2 mm of translation at these joints. Most of the motion in the area of the pelvis occurs either at the hips or the lumbar spine. These joints do need to support the entire weight of the upper body when we are erect, which places a large amount of stress across them. This can lead to wearing of the cartilage of the SI joints and arthritis.
What is sacroiliac joint dysfunction?
There are many different terms for sacroiliac joint problems, including SI joint dysfunction, sacroiliac joint disease, SI joint syndrome, SI joint strain, and SI joint inflammation. Each of these terms refers to a condition that causes pain in the SI joints from a specific cause.
SI Joint Dysfunction Symptom
Symptoms and signs associated with joint pain can include
- joint redness,
- joint swelling,
- joint tenderness,
- joint warmth,
- locking of the joint,
- loss of range of motion of the joint,
- stiffness, and
What are the causes of sacroiliac joint dysfunction?
As with most other joints in the body, the SI joints have a cartilage layer covering the bone. The cartilage allows for some movement and acts as a shock absorber between the bones. When this cartilage is damaged or worn away, the bones begin to rub on each other, and degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis) occurs. This is the most common cause of SI joint dysfunction. Degenerative arthritis occurs commonly in the SI joints, just like other weight-bearing joints of the body.
Another common cause of SI joint dysfunction is pregnancy. During pregnancy, hormones are released in the woman's body that allow ligaments to relax. This prepares the body for childbirth. Relaxation of the ligaments holding the SI joints together allows for increased motion in the joints and can lead to increased stresses and abnormal wear. The additional weight and walking pattern (altered gait) associated with pregnancy also places additional stress on the SI joints.
Any condition that alters the normal walking pattern places increased stress on the SI joints and is a risk factor for SI joint dysfunction. This could include a leg length discrepancy (one leg longer than the other), or pain in the hip, knee, ankle, or foot. Patients with severe pain in the lower extremity often develop problems with either the lower back (lumbar spine) or SI joints. Usually, if the underlying problem is treated, the associated lumbar spine or SI joint dysfunction will also improve.
There are many disorders that affect the joints of the body that can also cause inflammation in the SI joints. These include gout, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis. These are all various forms of arthritis that can affect all joints. Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritis that always affects the SI joints. It can lead to stiffness and severe pain in the SI joints, due to inflammation in the sacroiliac joints (sacroiliitis). As the disease process continues, the SI joints can fuse together and have no range of motion. Once this occurs, there is no further pain associated with the SI joints. Rarely, bacterial infection can involve the sacroiliac joints.
Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for What are sacroiliac joint dysfunction symptoms?
The most common symptom of SI joint dysfunction is sacroiliac joint pain. Patients often experience pain in the lower back or the back of the hips. Pain may also be present in the groin and thighs. In many cases, it can be difficult to determine the exact source of the pain. Your physician can perform specific tests to help isolate the source of the pain. The pain is typically worse with standing and walking and improved when lying down. Inflammation and arthritis in the SI joint can also cause stiffness and a burning sensation in the pelvis.
SLIDESHOWLow Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Relief See Slideshow
How do health care professionals diagnose sacroiliac joint dysfunction?
The first step in diagnosis is typically a thorough history and physical examination by a physician. The physician will ask questions to determine if there are any underlying disorders that could be causing the patient's pain. Certain signs can also help differentiate pain coming from the SI joints, lumbar spine, or hips. There are various tests a physician can perform during the physical examination that can help isolate the source of the pain. By placing the patient's hips and legs in certain positions and applying pressure, the SI joints can be moved or compressed to identify them as a source of pain. Other portions of the examination are to exclude certain possibilities that could mimic sacroiliac disease.
How do health care professionals diagnose sacroiliac joint the 1 last update 2020/06/02 dysfunction? (Part 2)How do health care professionals diagnose sacroiliac joint dysfunction? (Part 2)
The next step in diagnosis is often plain radiographs (X-rays). The patient may have X-rays of the pelvis, hips, or lumbar spine depending on what the physician finds on the history and physical examination. A computed tomography (CAT or CT) scan may also help in the diagnosis. A CT scan gives a more detailed look at the joint and bones. Both X-rays and CT scans can help identify sacroiliitis. This can appear as sclerosis in the joints. More severe wear in the joints can appear as erosion of the bone around the SI joints. These tests can also look for fusion of the SI joints. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan can also be helpful. This provides a better evaluation of the soft tissues, including muscles and ligaments. It can also identify subtle fractures that may not be visible on an X-ray. The MRI can identify inflammation in the SI joint by the presence of excessive fluid in the joint. A bone scan can be obtained to help isolate the source of the pain and can be used to identify bony abnormalities. The bone scan can identify areas of increased activity in the bone. This is a nonspecific test and can be positive in cases of arthritis, infection, fracture, or tumors of bone.
Latest Arthritis News
- Active Older Vets Get Less Hurt From Fall
- Are Steroids the Answer for Arthritic Knees?
- Vitamin D Aid Seniors''s General Health Newsletter
Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for By clicking Submit, I agree to the 1 last update 2020/06/02 the MedicineNet''s subscriptions at any time.By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet''s subscriptions at any time.
Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for What are home remedies for sacroiliac joint dysfunction?
Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for Oral anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs such as ibuprofen [Motrin], naproxen sodium [Aleve], or acetaminophen [Tylenol]) are often effective for pain relief. If the cause of sacroiliac joint dysfunction is mechanical, such as from pregnancy or the aging process, then rest and ice may be helpful. On the other hand, if the cause is inflammatory, such as from ankylosing spondylitis or psoriatic arthritis, then gentle exercise (walking) and heat may be helpful.
Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for What is the prognosis of sacroiliac joint dysfunction?
The prognosis of sacroiliac joint dysfunction varies depending on the cause of the dysfunction. When the problem is caused by pregnancy, the prognosis is excellent, as the condition usually improves for 1 last update 2020/06/02 after pregnancy during the postpartum period. Conditions affecting the sacroiliac joints such as ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis are chronic, but excellent treatments are available. These treatments can minimize the SI joint pain and prevent destruction of the joints. Degenerative arthritis affecting the SI joint is also a chronic condition and cannot be reversed, but treatments are generally very effective in improving symptoms.The prognosis of sacroiliac joint dysfunction varies depending on the cause of the dysfunction. When the problem is caused by pregnancy, the prognosis is excellent, as the condition usually improves after pregnancy during the postpartum period. Conditions affecting the sacroiliac joints such as ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis are chronic, but excellent treatments are available. These treatments can minimize the SI joint pain and prevent destruction of the joints. Degenerative arthritis affecting the SI joint is also a chronic condition and cannot be reversed, but treatments are generally very effective in improving symptoms.
Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for From
Back Pain Resources
Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for Featured Centers
Is it possible to prevent sacroiliac joint dysfunction?
Unfortunately, SI joint dysfunction is not preventable in some people. For many, it is an unfortunate part of the normal aging process. However, the severity can be reduced through treatment with medication, injections, or physical therapy. Maintaining a healthy body weight and good conditioning can reduce the chances of developing SI joint dysfunction and other forms of arthritis. By reducing the loads on the joints, there is less chance for cartilage damage and subsequent arthritis.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Tuite, M.J. "" Semin Musculoskelet Radiol. 12.1 Mar. 2008: 72-82.
Top Sacroiliac Joint Pain Related Articles
16 Back Pain Truths and MythsWhich mattress is best for back pain? Back pain conditions are very common. Learn the causes of upper and lower back pain. Find the truth and get the facts behind back pain myths, remedies, causes and treatment.
Causes of Body AchesBody aches are a symptom of the flu, arthritis, autoimmune disease, infections like Lyme disease, and other conditions. Body pain and muscle aches may accompany fever, headache, and other symptoms. Body aches are a general symptom of many potential underlying conditions. Only a doctor can diagnose and treat the cause.
CT Scan (Computerized Tomography)A CT scan is an X-ray procedure that combines many X-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional and three-dimensional images of internal organs and structures of the body. A CT scan is a low-risk procedure. Contrast material may be injected into a vein or the spinal fluid to enhance the scan.
Cortisone InjectionCortisone injections are used to treat small areas of inflammation or widespread inflammation throughout the body. There is minimal pain from these injections, and relief from the pain of inflammation occurs rapidly.
CT Scan vs. MRI
CT scan (computerized tomography) is a procedure that uses X-rays to scan and take images of cross-sections of parts of the body. CT scan can help diagnose broken bones, tumors or lesions in areas of the body, blood clots in the brain, legs, and lung, and lung infections or diseases like pneumonia or emphysema.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a procedure that uses strong magnetic fields and radiofrequency energy to make images of parts of the body, particularly, the organs and soft tissues like tendons and cartilage.
Both CT and MRI are painless, however, MRI can be more bothersome to some individuals who are claustrophobic, or suffer from anxiety or panic disorders due to the enclosed space and noise the machine makes.
MRI costs more than CT, while CT is a quicker and more comfortable test for the patient.
Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for GoutBuildup of uric acid crystals in a joint causes gouty arthritis. Symptoms and signs include joint pain, swelling, heat, and redness, typically of a single joint. Gout may be treated with diet and lifestyle changes, as well as medication.
Lower Back PainThere are many causes of back pain. Pain in the low back can relate to the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, muscles of the low back, internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen, and the skin covering the lumbar area.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan)MRI (or magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a radiology technique which uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures. MRI scanning is painless and does not involve X-ray radiation. Patients with heart pacemakers, metal implants, or metal chips or clips in or around the eyes cannot be scanned with MRI because of the effect of the magnet.
Osteoarthritis SlideshowOsteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease affecting both cartilage and bone. Joints most often affected by osteoarthritis include the knees, hands, back, or hips. Osteoarthritis symptoms include pain, swelling and joint inflammation.
Pregnancy (Week by Week, Trimesters)Signs and symptoms of pregnancy vary by stage (trimester). The earliest pregnancy symptom is typically a missed period, but others include breast swelling and tenderness, nausea and sometimes vomiting, fatigue, and bloating. Second trimester symptoms include backache, weight gain, itching, and possible stretch marks. Third trimester symptoms are additional weight gain, heartburn, hemorrhoids, swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face, breast tenderness, and trouble sleeping. Eating a healthy diet, getting a moderate amount of exercise, also are recommended for a healthy pregnancy. Information about the week by week growth of your baby in the womb are provided.
PsoriasisPsoriasis is a long-term skin condition that may cause large plaques of red, raised skin, flakes of dry skin, and skin scales. There are several types of psoriasis, including psoriasis vulgaris, guttate psoriasis, inverse psoriasis, and pustular psoriasis. Symptoms vary depending on the type of psoriasis the patient has. Treatment of psoriasis may include creams, lotions, oral medications, injections and infusions of biologics, and light therapy. There is no cure for psoriasis.
Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as well as other organs in the body. Because it can affect multiple other organs of the body, rheumatoid arthritis is referred to as a systemic illness and is sometimes called rheumatoid disease. The 16 characteristic early RA signs and symptoms include the following.
- Both sides of the body affected (symmetric)
- Joint deformity
- Joint pain
- Joint redness
- Joint stiffness
- Joint swelling
- Joint tenderness
- Joint warmth
- Loss of joint function
- Loss of joint range of motion
- Many joints affected (polyarthritis)
RA SlideshowWhat is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? Learn about juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Discover rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
Steroids: for the Treatment of ArthritisSteroids decrease inflammation and may be used to treat many inflammatory conditions and diseases, such as systemic vasculitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Sjögren''s Health
- Mental Health
- Sexual Health
- Women's Health