Sacroiliitis is one of those ‘itises’ that once you have it you won’t want to repeat it –ever!
This inflammation of one or both of the sacroiliac joints that connect the lower spine (sacrum) to the pelvis can be extremely painful. There is severe pain and stiffness in your low back and hips and walking is difficult. Pain may radiate from the lower back and pelvis into the buttocks or back of the thigh.
The sacroiliac joints are surrounded by a large amount of ligaments and fibrous tissue for stability. Because these joints are deep in the muscle of your buttocks, they are difficult to examine. The pain when you move may be so severe that you become unwilling to move at all and this makes the condition difficult to diagnose. Sacroiliitis can be mistaken for other causes of low back pain such as:
• Herniated disc
• Muscle strain
• Septic Hip
• Abscess of the psosas muscle –this is a part of the hip flexor group of muscles
• Kidney Infection
• Ankylosing spondylitis
• Trauma, such as a car accident or fall which affects your lower back, spine, pelvis or buttocks. Torn ligaments can create inflammation or lead to infection of the sacroiliac joints.
• Heavy lifting, if done incorrectly, can injure muscles and joints.
• Spondyloarthropathies, which are inflammatory arthritis conditions including: ankylosing spondylitis, arthritis associated with psoriasis.
• Degenerative arthritis of spine, which can cause inflammation of sacroiliac joints
• Osteoarthritis leads to degeneration of the sacroiliac joints.
• Pregnancy, in which the ligaments in pelvis become softer and stretch to accommodate childbirth.
• Infection of the sacroiliac joint. This may be due to a bacterial infection in food such as brucellosis. This disease occurs in slaughterhouse workers, farmers, veterinarians, ranchers. It was spread through contaminated milk prior to pasteurization requirements.
• Reiter’s Syndrome, which causes sacroiliac joint pain along with other symptoms.
Because of the difficulty diagnosing this disorder, predisposing risk factors must be considered, including:
• History of bone, joint, skin infection.
• Injury to spine, pelvis or buttocks
• Urinary Tract Infection may spread infection from urinary tract to sacroiliac joints.
• Pregnancy, when the area around sacroiliac joints may become inflammmed.
• Endocarditis, which is an infection of the lining of the heart, can spread to joints and other body organs.
• Illicit IV drug use increases the risk
• Pain and stiffness in lower back, thighs, buttocks
• Pain becomes worse with walking due to the motion of the hips.
• Psoriasis, an inflammatory skin condition, may occur with a type of arthritis.
• Pain radiating down leg, often mimics sciatica
• Decreased range of motion
• Elevated temperature
• Bloody Diarrhea occurs with Reiter’s Syndrome which causes painful urination, joint pain, sacroiliac joint pain, and eye inflammation
• Eye inflammation in one or both eyes, a symptom of Reiter’s Syndrome and often evident with sacroiliitis.
It is important to seek medical evaluation promptly with sacroiliitis and to not delay treatment. This illness is no ordinary episode of back pain, and it can lead to joint destruction and the possible development of a disabling ailment or a severe systemic infection.