Sacroileitis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

It is an inflammatory condition affecting the sacroiliac joints, located in the area where the pelvis and the lower part of the spine are connected.

Sacroiliitis causes buttocks or lower back pain and may extend down one or both legs.


The causes of an inflammation of the sacroiliac joint are due to several factors:

Traumatic injury:  Sacroiliitis can be caused by a sudden impact, blows, or direct trauma to the joint such as a fall, weightlifting, or an accident.

This causes inflammation of the tissues of the joints, causing redness in the area of ​​the joint, increased temperature, and loss of function.

Arthritis: An arthritis of wear and tear, called osteoarthritis, can occur in the sacroiliac joints and produce sacroiliitis.

Ankylosing spondylitis, a type of inflammatory arthritis that acts at the spine level, can also cause sacroiliitis.


These degenerative diseases, which have progressed over the years, can affect the sacral bone and produce wear on the joint.

Pregnancy:  These joints have the primary function of causing a stretch so that the pelvis can allow the baby’s birth during birth and is, a fact, weight gain during pregnancy.

The extra weight of the baby on the hip can produce additional stress in these joints and cause abnormal wear on the sacroiliac joint, which yields and becomes inflamed, degenerating into sacroiliitis.

Infection:  This is an uncommon cause in the onset of the condition. Specific cases of sacroiliac joint infection due to brucellosis have been reported.

This disease can give rise to focalizations in the joints and spondylodiscitis of the lumbar spine accompanied by sacroiliitis.

Impact exercises: Jogging, running, standing for long periods, climbing stairs excessively, and placing more weight on one leg than on the other, can aggravate this condition.


Sacroiliitis manifests itself with various symptoms that overlap with other spine conditions.

It manifests as:

  • The presence of pain and stiffness in the lower back, buttocks, thighs, and even the feet. This pain affects the hips and shoulders.
  • It can produce bloody diarrhea.
  • Inflammation in the eyes
  • Presence of low fever.
  • Depression and insomnia due to the presence of chronic pain.
  • The presence of pain to the touch produces pain by applying pressure to the affected area.
  • The feeling of heat in the pelvic area can sometimes become more acute, like a burning sensation.
  • It can cause a loss of weight.
  • Difficulty doing some movements such as elongating the legs to perform steps excessively, bending over, or any other movement that requires the work of the sacroiliac joints.


Sacroiliitis presents difficulties for its diagnosis since its symptoms can be confused with other symptoms of low back pain.

For being confused about the relationship of their symptoms with a group of diseases that cause inflammatory arthritis of the spine.

A correct diagnosis is critical, so it is usual to make the clinical history in terms of localized pain experienced by the patient and the results obtained from X-rays.

Imaging scan of the magnetic resonance or computed tomography of the sacroiliac joints.

As well as for the results of cultures of the sacroiliac joint fluid or blood culture if the infection is presumed to be the cause.

The interaction of these methods allows confirming a diagnosis of sacroiliitis to adopt a correct treatment.


The treatment condition will be based on the underlying cause and the patient’s symptoms.

Prescription medications may include:

  • Analgesics.
  • Muscle relaxants.
  • Antirheumatics
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.
  • Corticosteroids
  • Inhibitors of tumor necrosis factor, such as adalimumab (Humira), infliximab (Remicade), and etanercept (Enbrel), in the case of being associated with ankylosing spondylitis.

The treatment can include physical therapy to reduce pain and stiffness, stretch, relax muscle massages, and electrical stimulation.

If these options do not alleviate the pain, you can go to joint fusion surgery of the two bones fused with metal fittings preventing pain and achieving stability.