Sacroiliac Arthropathy

Causes of Sacroiliac Arthropathy

Sacroiliac arthropathy is also referred to as sacroiliitis. Learn about the causes of sacroiliac arthropathy, how it affects people, and treatment options.

Table of Contents

What is Sacroiliac Arthropathy?

Sacroiliac arthropathy, or sacroiliitis, is characterized by inflammation and dysfunction of the sacroiliac joints.1

These joints can be found at the junction between the sacrum and the ilium bones in the pelvis. The causes of sacroiliac arthropathy vary from person to person, but it often affects older adults, athletes, and pregnant women.

Sacroiliac Joints: What are They and How Can They Be Impacted?

The sacroiliac joints play a crucial role in transferring the upper body’s weight to the lower body. This is important during standing, walking, and other activities.

When the sacroiliac joints become inflamed, it can result in pain and discomfort.2 This occurs in the lower back, buttocks, and sometimes the legs. The pain is often localized to one side of the back, although it can affect both sides.3

Symptoms of Sacroiliac Arthropathy

The severity of symptoms can vary, ranging from mild to severe. They may manifest in the form of:

  • Stiffness
  • Limited range of motion
  • Difficulty performing daily activities

It is important to consult with a healthcare professional if you experience persistent lower back pain. This is especially true if you suspect sacroiliac arthropathy. 


A medical professional will be able to diagnose the condition. From there, they will be able to recommend the most suitable treatment for you.

How Does It Affect the Body?

Sacroiliac arthropathy can lead to various symptoms and functional limitations. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy. 

Here are some ways in which it can affect the body:


Inflammation of the sacroiliac joints can result in localized pain in the lower back, buttocks, and sometimes the legs. The pain may be sharp, stabbing, or dull, and it can range from mild to severe. 

Pain may worsen with activities that put stress on the affected joints, such as prolonged sitting, standing, and walking. 

Limited Range of Motion

Sacroiliac arthropathy can lead to stiffness and reduced flexibility in the lower back and pelvis.

This stiffness can make it challenging to perform even basic movements, such as bending, twisting, or lifting objects. Activities that use the hip joints, such as climbing stairs or getting in and out of a car, may also be affected.

Over time, sacroiliac arthropathy’s impact can impair mobility, making it difficult to walk or engage in other physical activities.

Discomfort During Daily Activities

The stiffness associated with sacroiliac arthropathy leads to other symptoms. These are most common during prolonged sitting, standing up, and getting in or out of bed. 

Discomfort occurs outside of activities as well. Individuals may experience pain and stiffness during periods of rest and inactivity. 

Emotional and Psychological Impact

Chronic pain and limited mobility can take a toll on an individual’s emotional well-being. Living with sacroiliac arthropathy may lead to:

  • Frustration
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • A decreased quality of life

What Are the Main Causes of Sacroiliac Arthropathy?

The causes of sacroiliac arthropathy are multifactorial. They can also vary from person to person. While the exact cause may not always be clear, several factors may be potential causes of sacroiliac arthropathy.

It is important to note that sacroiliac arthropathy may result from a combination of these factors, or it could have an underlying cause that is not understood. 

Proper diagnosis and evaluation by a healthcare professional are crucial to determine the specific causes of sacroiliac arthropathy. This allows for targeted treatment approaches to reduce symptoms and improve joint function.

Some of the main causes of sacroiliac arthropathy include:

Traumatic Injuries

Trauma or injury to the sacroiliac joints can disrupt the normal alignment and stability of the joints. This causes pain and dysfunction. These are some of the more common causes of sacroiliac arthropathy.

The most common forms of trauma include a fall, motor vehicle accident, or sports-related impact. 

Degenerative Changes

Wear and tear on the sacroiliac joints over time can result in degenerative changes. In this way, it’s like osteoarthritis.

Degenerative changes can occur with age or due to repetitive stress on the joints. These causes of sacroiliac arthropathy lead to a specific form of the condition. This condition is known as degenerative sacroiliac arthropathy.

Impact of Degenerative Sacroiliac Arthropathy

Degenerative sacroiliac arthropathy may cause:

  • Joint inflammation
  • Cartilage breakdown
  • The formation of bone spurs

What Are Other Causes of Sacroiliac Arthropathy?

In addition to the main causes of sacroiliac arthropathy, other causes take a toll on the joints. These other causes of sacroiliac arthropathy include the following:

Inflammatory Conditions

Certain inflammatory conditions can affect the sacroiliac joints. Thus, they can be considered causes of sacroiliac arthropathy. 

Common conditions include those such as

  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Reactive arthritis

In these conditions, the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues, including the sacroiliac joints. This causes inflammation and arthropathy.


In rare cases, infections are causes of sacroiliac arthropathy. Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections can cause inflammation and damage to the sacroiliac joints. This leads to arthropathy.

Pregnancy and Hormonal Changes

During pregnancy, hormonal changes occur in a woman’s body to prepare for childbirth. These hormonal changes can affect the stability of the sacroiliac joints. This leads to changes in mobility and potential inflammation.

This condition, known as pregnancy-related sacroiliac arthropathy, often resolves after delivery. Often, pregnancy is one of the main causes of sacroiliac arthropathy in young women. 

Who is Most at Risk for Sacroiliac Arthropathy?

Sacroiliac arthropathy can occur in individuals of all ages, but certain factors may increase the risk of developing this condition. Sacroiliac arthropathy can also occur in individuals without these specific risk factors.

The following groups of people are considered to be at higher risk for the causes of sacroiliac arthropathy and the condition itself:


The risk of sacroiliac arthropathy tends to increase with age. Degenerative changes and wear and tear on the sacroiliac joints over time can make older adults more susceptible to this condition.


Some studies suggest that women may have a higher risk of developing sacroiliac arthropathy compared to men. This may be influenced by statistics surrounding pregnancy-related sacroiliac arthropathy.


Pregnancy-related sacroiliac arthropathy is a specific form of this condition. The hormonal changes and increased mobility of the pelvic joints during pregnancy can put stress on the sacroiliac joints. This leads to inflammation and pain.

Certain Occupations or Activities

Individuals whose occupations or activities involve repetitive stress or heavy physical demands on the lower back and pelvis may be at an increased risk. 

Examples include jobs that involve:

  • Heavy lifting
  • Prolonged standing
  • Repetitive twisting motions

Athletes and sports enthusiasts involved in activities such as running, jumping, or contact sports may also be more prone to sacroiliac joint injuries. This increases the risk of arthropathy. 

Inflammatory Conditions

People with pre-existing inflammatory conditions have a higher risk of developing sacroiliac arthropathy. These conditions involve chronic inflammation in various joints of the body, including the sacroiliac joints.

What Role Do Genetics Play in the Development of Sacroiliac Arthropathy?

Researchers believe genetics to be one of the significant causes of sacroiliac arthropathy. While the specific genetic factors are not yet understood, research suggests that genetics may contribute to an individual’s susceptibility to developing sacroiliac arthropathy.

It is important to remember that genetics is just one piece of the puzzle. Environmental factors are also significant causes of sacroiliac arthropathy.

If you have a family history of sacroiliac arthropathy or related conditions, it may be beneficial to inform your healthcare provider. Here are some other key points regarding the role of genetics as causes of sacroiliac arthropathy:

Familial Clustering

Studies have shown that sacroiliac arthropathy and related inflammatory conditions tend to cluster in families. This suggests a genetic component in the development of these conditions. 

As learned above, inflammatory conditions can also further aggravate sacroiliac arthropathy symptoms. 

Individuals with a family history of sacroiliac arthropathy or other inflammatory arthropathies may have an increased risk of developing the condition themselves.

Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) Genes

Genetic variations in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes have been associated with the development of ankylosing spondylitis.

This involves sacroiliac joint inflammation. The presence of the HLA-B27 gene variant is associated with an increased risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis and related sacroiliac arthropathy.

It is important to note that not all individuals with the HLA-B27 gene variant develop these conditions. The presence of this gene alone is also not sufficient to diagnose sacroiliac arthropathy.

Other Factors That Contribute to the Development of Sacroiliac Arthropathy

Science continues to study the factors contributing to the development of sacroiliac arthropathy. We’re learning more everyday as we research it. 

Some of these factors that contribute to the development of sacroiliac arthropathy include: 

Other Genetic Factors

In addition to HLA genes, other genetic factors are likely involved in the development of sacroiliac arthropathy.

More research is needed to understand the specific genetic mechanisms and their contribution to sacroiliac arthropathy.

How Do Trauma and Injury Contribute to the Onset of Sacroiliac Arthropathy?

Trauma and injury can contribute to the onset of sacroiliac arthropathy by causing structural damage to the sacroiliac joints and triggering an inflammatory response.

It is important to note that not all cases of sacroiliac arthropathy are linked exclusively to trauma or injury. Other factors, such as genetics, inflammatory conditions, or degenerative changes, can also contribute to its development. 

Role of Trauma and Injury in Sacroiliac Arthropathy

Here’s how trauma and injury play a role:

  • Disruption of joint alignment
  • Ligament and soft tissue damage
  • Inflammatory response
  • Post-traumatic arthritis

What Diagnostic Tools are Used to Identify Sacroiliac Arthropathy and its Causes?

Diagnosing sacroiliac arthropathy and determining its underlying causes involves a combination of medical history assessment, physical examination, and diagnostic tests. Here are some of the most used diagnostic tools:

Medical History and Physical Examination

The healthcare provider will begin by discussing your symptoms and medical history. They will inquire about the location, duration, and characteristics of your pain. Your provider will also ask about any factors that change the level of pain.

A physical examination may involve assessing or performing:

  • Your range of motion
  • Joint tenderness
  • Specific maneuvers to provoke sacroiliac joint pain

Imaging Studies

There are several different forms of imaging studies that can be used in diagnosing this condition and the causes of sacroiliac arthropathy. These include:

  • X-rays
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan

Diagnostic Injections

A diagnostic sacroiliac joint injection can be performed to confirm the involvement of the sacroiliac joints as the source of pain. A local anesthetic and a corticosteroid are injected into the joint under fluoroscopic guidance.

If the injection provides significant pain relief, it suggests that the sacroiliac joints are contributing to the symptoms.

Blood Tests

There is no specific blood test for sacroiliac arthropathy. Certain blood tests can, however, help identify underlying inflammatory conditions or rule out other causes of joint pain. These may include tests for markers of inflammation and genetic testing.

Sacroiliac Arthropathy

What Treatment Options are Available for Sacroiliac Arthropathy?

The treatment options for sacroiliac arthropathy aim to reduce pain and inflammation, improve joint function, and enhance the individual’s quality of life.

The specific treatment approach varies depending on the severity of symptoms, underlying causes, and individual circumstances. 

Common Treatment Opportunities

Here are some common treatment options:4
  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise programs
  • Supportive measures
  • Use of assistive devices
  • Postural education
  • Surgical interventions
  • Complementary and alternative therapies

Consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best treatment plan for sacroiliac arthropathy based on your individual needs and circumstances. 

How is Treatment Tailored?

Treatment may involve a combination of approaches tailored to address:

  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Joint function
  • Well-being

How Effective is Treatment in Addressing the Underlying Causes?

The effectiveness of treatment options in addressing the underlying causes of sacroiliac arthropathy depends on the specific cause and individual circumstances.

Some treatments focus on symptom management, including pain relief. Other treatments, though, may be better at targeting the causes of sacroiliac arthropathy. 

Learn More About the Causes of Sacroiliac Arthropathy With J. Flowers Health

Are you searching for in-depth information about the causes of sacroiliac arthropathy? Look no further than J. Flowers Health. 

Our comprehensive guide provides valuable insights into this condition, covering various factors that contribute to sacroiliac arthropathy.

Reach Out and Begin Healing

From underlying medical conditions to lifestyle factors and genetic predispositions, we will help you understand the root causes of this condition. 


Our resources will empower you with the information needed to better comprehend this condition.

Embark on your journey of understanding the causes of sacroiliac arthropathy with J. Flowers Health today. We look forward to hearing from you.