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How Do I Treat Sacroiliac Joint Inflammation?

An X-ray of the pelvis, showing the sacroiliac joint.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 06 April 2014
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Sacroiliac joint inflammation, which is sometimes called sacroiliitis, can be a mild to severe source of pain in the back, buttocks and sometimes one or both legs. This inflammation occurs on the joint between the pelvis and the back, and the causes of it may be numerous. It may occur from sudden injury, from arthritis, a condition called ankylosing spondylitis, or from conditions like pregnancy or infection. Due to its number of potential causes, sacroiliac joint inflammation treatment is varied.

When the condition is first suspected, it may have symptoms like pronounced back pain or pain on one side of the lower back when sitting for long periods of time. Some people experience a pain that runs down a leg, and others find it difficult to move lower and upper body in different directions. Some people will experience pain in association with conditions like psoriasis, which may make diagnosis easier, or fever.

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Most people with this joint inflammation, provided they don’t have other conditions present, get diagnosed via scans like x-ray or CAT (computerized axial tomography) scan. These may show inflammation of the one of the joints. When there is no reason to suspect other illnesses, the basic sacroiliac joint inflammation treatment is to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), to help reduce the inflammation. People may also be asked as part of sacroiliac joint inflammation treatment to rest for a few days to promote recovery. At a certain point some physical therapy could be used or exercises taught in a doctor’s office might be employed to help increase the joint’s range of motion, while not straining it.

There are other medications that may be tried for sacroiliac joint inflammation treatment if the conservative NSAIDs are not reducing inflammation enough. Some people will take oral steroids like prednisone, and occasionally injections of steroids into the joint may be tried for pain relief. There is controversy on this treatment and some doctors feel it risks more to the joint than is necessary.

If arthritis is causing the problem, medications specifically to treat arthritis might be given instead. A variety of sacroiliac joint inflammation treatments may be tried when the underlying condition is ankylosing spondylitis. Should something like infection be the primary cause either oral or intravenous antibiotics could be used to treat the condition.

When a woman is pregnant, sacroiliac joint inflammation treatment tends to be on the conservative side. Many of the medications used in other instances aren’t appropriate during pregnancy. When possible use of no medication and merely physical therapy is recommended. The condition is often limited to duration of pregnancy, and if it occurs late in pregnancy, most treatment might wait until after a baby is born.

For many people, inflammation in the sacroiliac joint is painful but curable with a few medications and some physical therapy. This may not be the case when more complicated illnesses are creating the problem. Treatment gets more complex as it needs to, to address these additional issues.

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