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Sacroiliitis: What's the Cause and What Can I Do About It?
If you end each day complaining about your lower back pain, you’re likely wondering what’s causing it. Whether you’re constantly on your feet or you do a lot of sitting, you may be putting your spine at risk of multiple conditions, sacroiliitis in particular.
Sacroiliitis is inflammation in the joints that connect your pelvis to your lower spine, and it can be extremely painful. However, it’s surprisingly difficult to diagnose, as it can be mistaken for other kinds of back pain. Luckily, you’re not without treatment options if you’re dealing with this kind of inflammation in the lower spine.
Read on to learn more about the causes of sacroiliitis and what steps you can take to alleviate this condition.
What Is Sacroiliitis?
Sacroiliitis is inflammation in one or both sacroiliac joints, which are found where the pelvis connects to the lower spine. The sacroiliac joint (SI) is one of the largest joints of the body and is often the cause of pain in the lower back and buttocks. These joints are found on each side of the spine and connect the sacrum, or the base of your spine, to the ilium, or the top of your pelvis.
If you’re experiencing sacroiliitis, you may notice pain in the lower back and buttocks. That pain also may travel down one or both legs. Due to the location of this pain, sacroiliitis is often misdiagnosed as other conditions when, in fact, between 10 percent and 25 percent of people who deal with lower back pain have sacroiliitis. In some cases, arthritis can actually cause sacroiliitis.
Symptoms of Sacroiliitis
If you’re struggling with sacroiliitis, you may notice pain in the lower back, buttocks, hips, or groin. The quality of pain can vary, as some describe a sharp, stabbing feeling, while others describe it as a dull ache.
Sacroiliitis pain can be easily aggravated by everyday activities, including physical activity like running, standing for an extended period of time, climbing the stairs, putting more weight on one leg than the other, and even getting up out of a chair.
You may also experience stiffness in the lower back, especially when getting out of bed, as well as a fever in certain cases.
Possible Causes of Sacroiliitis
Sacroiliitis may have multiple causes, including the following:
Osteoarthritis and Sacroiliitis
Osteoarthritis can cause the regression of the joint, which can lead to sacroiliitis. This form of arthritis takes place in the sacroiliac joints and can be caused by ligament failure.
This condition develops when the cartilage that cushions and guards the ends of your bones slowly deteriorates. Osteoarthritis causes pain and stiffness in the hip, knee, and thumb joints.
Aging, obesity, and other factors wear down the cartilage of your SI joints which leads to discomfort and inflammation. This is not the same as the inflammation seen in AS and PsA, which occurs when your immune system attacks healthy tissue.
There is a possibility that your sacroiliitis could be caused by other forms of arthritis, as well, including Psoriatic Arthritis. If you already have one of these conditions, it may be worth talking to your doctor about whether you’re at risk for sacroiliitis.
Injury and Sacroiliitis
Trauma or injury, like from a car accident, can cause stress to the SI joints or the ligaments in the area, which might lead to inflammation. That said, the injury that causes sacroiliitis also doesn’t need to be that extreme — something as simple as stepping off a curb the wrong way can cause an injury, especially if you already have another condition like arthritis./p>
Pregnancy and Sacroiliitis
Pregnancy can cause inflammation of the SI joints due to the hormone relaxin, which is what allows the pelvis to widen in order to give birth. That hormone can cause sacroiliitis much in the same way that pregnancy often leads to swollen hands and feet. Additionally, the extra weight of the pregnancy causes stress on the joints, leading to extra stress and wear that may cause further inflammation.
Infection and Sacroiliitis
This is relatively rare, but certain infections can cause sacroiliitis. This usually occurs because of a specific kind of staph bacteria that causes the SI joints to become inflamed.
Do You Have Sacroiliitis?
You may be in the rather large percentage of people who have sacroiliitis but are unaware. In order to know, note excess pain in the lower back, buttocks, groin, or hips. Look for sharp or achy pain in the legs. If your pain worsens when you stand for too long or stand up after sitting, this could be sacroiliitis, and it’s worth speaking to your healthcare provider about it
What Can I Do to Combat Sacroiliitis?
Luckily, there are many steps you can take to avoid worsening sacroiliitis if you already have it. Most of these remedies are methods intended to manage pain, but you should always speak with your doctor before beginning a new treatment plan.
- Rest the joint: This may give your body time to heal and reduce the inflammation.
- Heat and ice the impacted area.
- Change your sleep position: This is easier said than done, as most of us like to sleep in very specific positions. However, sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees may help with the pain.
- Utilize medication: Over-the-counter pain medications and anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen may help to relieve some of the pain.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy with a licensed professional may help to alleviate some of the pain and aid in restoring your range of motion, which may have been impacted.
- Joint injections or surgery: In extreme cases, your doctor may recommend that you get a joint injection or even sacroiliac joint surgery to treat sacroiliitis, but that is fairly rare.
- Choose the right kind of chair: Sitting for long periods of time with poor posture can cause damage to the whole of your spine, including the SI joints. By choosing the right kind of chair, you may be able to alleviate some of the pain of sacroiliitis and prevent further damage.
What Should You Look For In A New Chair?
If you suffer from sacroiliitis, you need a chair that helps you maintain proper posture and relieves your pain.
The all33 chair was designed to redistribute your weight on pressure points in order to relieve our hips and free them to move the way they would if we were walking.
The BackStrong chair’s potential for healthy posture doesn’t end there, either. Our chairs are beautifully crafted to provide support to your arms so that you can keep them at a 90-degree angle as you use your laptop or do the work you need to do. Those arms can also be flipped up if you need to get closer to your computer for comfortable typing.
If you’re dealing with sacroiliitis pain or any other kind of back pain, for that matter, this just might be the chair for you.
Sacroiliitis involves inflammation in one or both sacroiliac joints caused by osteoarthritis, injury, pregnancy or infection. Symptoms include pain in the lower back, buttocks, hips, and groin. While sacroiliitis can’t be prevented entirely, you may be able to protect your back and joints by taking steps to support healthy posture by being mindful of how and how much you’re sitting.