Back pain can be a debilitating condition, making it hard to complete everyday activities and decreasing one’s quality of life. In some cases, it can be very difficult to diagnose since it can be caused by many different factors. If you have intense pain where your lower spine and pelvis meet, it may be sacroiliitis.

Sacroiliitis is a painful condition that affects one or both sacroiliac joints – the joints sitting where the lower spine and pelvis meet. This condition can occur in older adults due to osteoarthritis in the sacroiliac joints.

Sacroiliitis can cause pain and stiffness in the buttocks or lower back, and the pain might go down one or both legs. Standing or sitting for a long time or climbing stairs can make the pain worse. Sacroiliitis can also cause difficulty with certain actions like bending, lifting, staying in one position over time and rising from sitting down.

It can be a hard condition to diagnose since it is often mistaken for other causes of lower back pain. This is where orthopedic specialists from MemorialCare Orthopedic & Spine Institute at Long Beach Medical Center may be able to help. Long Beach Medical Center was recently named among the top 50 Best U.S. Hospitals in Orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report.

Causes of sacroiliitis include:

  • Injury: sudden impact, from a fall can damage or inflame the sacroiliac joints
  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis in the sacroiliac joints can cause wear and tear, making them more prone to causing pain

To diagnose sacroiliitis, physicians at the MemorialCare Spine Health Center take a multi-disciplinary approach for spine surgery by using expert evaluation and diagnosis from a team of expert orthopedic physicians and surgeons. Patients who want to explore more permanent solutions to their pain can come to the center to meet with the care team and specialists to receive a treatment plan catered to their unique individual needs.

To establish a diagnosis a physical examination is performed. Also, x-rays of the patient’s pelvis are taken to evaluate the sacroiliac joint. Sometimes a diagnostic injection is utilized as well, to see if the injection alleviates the pain that the patient is experiencing.

Once diagnosed, an orthopedic specialist will determine the best course of treatment. Most cases of sacroiliitis can be treated with stretching, strengthening exercises or anti-inflammatory medication.

In addition, the MemorialCare Spine Health Center at Long Beach Medical Center offers aquatic therapy as an option to take the strain off of a patients’ joints as they work on improving their mobility.

If conservative methods – or nonoperative methods – do not help treat the pain, the MemorialCare Spine Health Center at Long Beach Medical Center may recommend corticosteroid injections into the affected area or possibly even surgery. Corticosteroids injected into the sacroiliac joints can help reduce swelling and pain. Surgery is very rare for treating sacroiliitis, but performing a minimally invasive, robotic-assisted sacroiliac joint fusion to fuse the bones in the sacroiliac joint can help stabilize the joint and minimize pain.

You don’t have to travel long distances to receive specialized orthopedic and spine care. In addition to being recognized as a Best U.S. Hospital in Orthopedics, MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center also scored high performance rankings from U.S. News & World Report for Hip Replacement, Hip Fracture and knee replacement.

Want to learn more, visit our Spine Health Center.