Sacroiliac joint pain, how to recognize it?


Sacroiliac joint pain

What are sacroiliac joints (ISG)?
The sacrum is a wedge-shaped bone on the lower spine, below the lumbar spine. Most vertebrae are mobile, but the sacrum is formed by five fused vertebrae that are not mobile.
The iliac bones are two large bones that form the pelvis.
The sacroiliac joints (ISG) connect the spine to the pelvis.
The sacrum and ilium are connected by some strong ligaments.

What are the causes of iliosacral dysfunction

Like most other joints in the body, the sacroiliac joints have a layer of cartilage that covers the bone.
As the cartilage wears out, the bones begin to rub against each other.
This leads to degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis).
Degenerative arthritis is just as common in ISGs as it is in other joints of the body.

Another common cause of ISG malfunction is pregnancy.
During gestation, hormones are produced in the woman’s body, which slacken the ligaments.
This prepares the mother’s body for childbirth.
The sagging of the ligaments allows greater movement in the joints and can lead to higher wear.
The increase in body weight and the changed way of walking cause further stress on these structures.

Any pathology that leads to a change in gait increases the joint load.
This also includes the asymmetry of the lower extremities (leg length difference), hip pain, pain in the knee, ankle or foot. Often patients with severe pain in the lower extremities have back problems (lumbar spine) or problems with the ISG.

There are many diseases that lead to inflammation of the IS joints.
The following are the most important ones:

  • rheumatoid arthritis,
  • psoriatic arthritis,
  • Ankylosing spondylitis.

These diseases are arthritides that can affect all joints of the body.

What are the symptoms of iliosacral dysfunction?

The most common symptom is pain. Patients feel the pain in the lower back or in the back of the hips.
The pain can also occur in the groin and thigh.
The pain worsens when standing and walking, and improves when lying down.

How is iliosacral dysfunction diagnosed?

The diagnosis begins with the anamnesis and a physical examination.
After that, radiography (X-ray) is recommended.
According to the doctor’s instructions, the patient must have an X-ray of the pelvis, hips or lumbar spine.
A CT scan provides more detailed information about the joints and bones.
Both X-ray and CT diagnose sacroiliitis.
It appears like sclerosis of the joints: the doctor sees bone erosion around the joints.

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