Sacroiliitis is an inflammation of one or both of the sacroiliac joints. The sacroiliac joints are the joints that connect your lumbar spine to your pelvis. Sacroiliitis often appears as pain in the lower back that radiates into the hips and buttocks and may radiate down one or both legs. This pain is usually more noticeable after a standing or after activities that require the use of the hips, such as walking, climbing stairs or going from a sitting to a standing position. Often patient have problems sitting and are more comfortable with the pressure removed from the side with the sacroiliitis by sitting with most of the pressure on the other butt check. Patient often describe the pain as about 3 inch off the midline of the low back where as primary lumbar pain is typically described as being directly in the center (midline).
Sacroiliitis is prevalent in many athletes and those who engage in repetitively concussive sports. The repetitive impact on these joints can cause inflammation and deterioration of the joints. It is also common in those with pre-existing arthritis of the joints or spine.
A large fraction of patients with persistent pain after a lumbar fusion are actually Sacroiliitis and not continuing pain from the lumbar spine.
Another common cause of Sacroiliitis is pregnancy. The sacroiliac joints are forced to loosen and stretch to accommodate childbirth. The added weight and altered position of these joints during pregnancy can cause additional stress on the joints and can expedite the deterioration process. For some women, the joints never return to a neutral position after pregnancy.
Due to the location of the pain many patients will confuse Sacroiliitis with a condition of the hip. However, the pain is actually brought on by a defect of the spine.
Symptoms of Sacroiliitis can include:
- Lower back pain
- Pain in the hips or buttocks
- Pain that increases after activity
- Pain that increases when standing