Symptoms of Sacroiliac Arthropathy

Symptoms of Sacroiliac Arthropathy

Learn more about the symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy. Discover how to get the help you need to manage them.

Table of Contents

What is Sacroiliac Arthropathy?

Sacroiliac arthropathy is also known as sacroiliitis. It refers to inflammation of the sacroiliac joints.1


The sacroiliac joints are at the junction of the spine and pelvis. The condition can cause a range of symptoms, including:2

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Discomfort in the leg
  • Difficulty with weight-bearing
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling and inflammation

Symptoms of Sacroiliac Arthropathy Vary

It’s important to note that the symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy vary. Some individuals may experience only a few of these symptoms.

How Do Doctors Diagnose Sacroiliac Arthropathy?

Diagnosing sacroiliac arthropathy involves a combination of approaches. This includes:

  • Clinical evaluation
  • Medical history assessment
  • Physical examination
  • Diagnostic tests

Methods for Diagnosis

Here are some other common methods used by doctors to diagnose sacroiliac arthropathy:

  • Medical history and symptom evaluation
  • Physical examination
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Diagnostic injections
  • Blood tests

It’s important to note that diagnosing sacroiliac arthropathy can be challenging. This is because the symptoms may overlap with other back conditions.

How Do the Symptoms of Sacroiliac Arthropathy Differ from Other Back Conditions?

Differentiating the symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy from other back conditions can be challenging. This is because the symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy may overlap with other conditions.3


There are a few factors that can help distinguish sacroiliac arthropathy from other back conditions.

Location of Pain

Sacroiliac arthropathy causes pain in the:

  • Lower back
  • Buttocks
  • Hips
  • Groin

The pain is often concentrated on one side of the body.


In contrast, conditions like lumbar disc herniation or spinal stenosis may cause different pain. This pain radiates down the leg or affects many regions of the back.

Aggravating Factors

Sacroiliac arthropathy pain tends to worsen with activities. This is especially true of those that involve stress on the sacroiliac joints. These activities include prolonged sitting or standing, walking, or climbing stairs.


Movements that involve bending or twisting at the waist may also exacerbate the pain. In contrast, other conditions like muscle strains or sprains may be more affected by specific movements or activities.

Response to Rest or Immobility

People with sacroiliac arthropathy often find that resting can provide pain relief. This also includes avoiding activities that stress the sacroiliac joints.


In contrast, other conditions may not show a significant change in symptoms with rest.

Palpation Tenderness

Sacroiliac arthropathy can cause tenderness when applying pressure over the sacroiliac joints.4


This tenderness is a specific symptom of sacroiliac arthropathy. Because of this, it is not seen in other back conditions.

Imaging and Diagnostic Tests

Imaging studies such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans can work to test the sacroiliac joints.


These tests can confirm the diagnosis of sacroiliac arthropathy. They also rule out other potential causes of back pain that may not be distinguishable through these tests.

Can the Symptoms of Sacroiliac Arthropathy Vary Depending on the Underlying Cause?

The symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy can vary depending on the underlying cause.


Sacroiliac arthropathy can be caused by several factors. These will be detailed below.

Inflammatory Conditions

Inflammatory conditions can cause sacroiliac arthropathy. This includes:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Reactive arthritis

In these cases, the symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy arise from a different source. They are often associated with the underlying inflammatory condition. 


This may include widespread joint pain, stiffness, and fatigue.

Trauma or Injury

Sacroiliac arthropathy can develop as a result of direct trauma or injury to the sacroiliac joints. In such cases, symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy may be localized to the injured area.


It may include:

  • Severe pain
  • Swelling
  • Difficulty bearing weight

Pregnancy-Related Changes

During pregnancy, hormonal changes can affect the ligaments and joints. This includes the sacroiliac joints.


This can lead to sacroiliac arthropathy symptoms such as lower back pain, hip pain, and difficulty with mobility. These symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy often resolve after childbirth.

Mechanical stress or degeneration

Over time, wear and tear or degenerative changes in the sacroiliac joints can lead to sacroiliac arthropathy.


In these cases, symptoms may be more chronic and may include persistent lower back pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion.

Effects of the Symptoms of Sacroiliac Arthropathy on Mobility and Daily Activities

Symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy can impact mobility and daily activities. This depends on their severity and individual circumstances.

Importance of Working with Healthcare Professionals

It’s important for individuals with sacroiliac arthropathy to work with healthcare professionals. This includes physiotherapists or occupational therapists. 


These professionals can help:

  • Manage symptoms
  • Change activities
  • Add strategies to improve daily functioning

Below are some ways these symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy can affect mobility and activities.

Walking and Standing

Pain and stiffness in the sacroiliac joints can make walking and standing for extended periods challenging.


Individuals with sacroiliac arthropathy may experience pain in the back, buttocks, or hips. This can limit their ability to walk or stand for prolonged periods.


Sitting for long durations can worsen sacroiliac arthropathy symptoms. The pressure applied to the sacroiliac joints while sitting can cause increased pain and discomfort.


This can make it difficult to sit for extended periods, affecting daily activities such as:

  • Work
  • Driving
  • Socializing

Bending and Twisting

Sacroiliac arthropathy can restrict the range of motion in the lower back and hips. This makes bending and twisting movements challenging.


Activities that involve certain tasks may be painful or limited. Some of these activities include:

  • Picking up objects from the ground
  • Reaching overhead
  • Turning the body

Exercise and Physical Activity

Sacroiliac arthropathy can hinder participation in physical activities and exercise routines. Movements that put stress on the sacroiliac joints can worsen symptoms. 


This includes:

  • Running
  • Jumping
  • Bending
  • Twisting

This may lead to a reduction in physical activity levels, impacting fitness and well-being.


Discomfort and pain associated with sacroiliac arthropathy can interfere with sleep quality. Finding a comfortable position to sleep in can be challenging.


This is especially if lying on the affected side aggravates the symptoms. Poor sleep quality can contribute to fatigue and impact daily activities and quality of life.

Work and Daily Tasks

Depending on the nature of the work or tasks, sacroiliac arthropathy symptoms can affect daily activities. This includes productivity and performance.


With sacroiliac arthropathy, certain jobs may be more difficult or even impossible. Jobs with a focus on heavy lifting, prolonged standing, or repetitive moments are examples of this.


Daily tasks such as household chores, gardening, or carrying groceries can also be challenging.

Physical and Postural Changes Associated with Sacroiliac Arthropathy

Sacroiliac arthropathy can be associated with physical and postural changes. These changes may occur as a result of pain, inflammation, and altered movement patterns in the sacroiliac joints.


Below are some common physical and postural changes associated with sacroiliac arthropathy.


People with sacroiliac arthropathy may develop a noticeable limp or altered gait pattern. This is often due to the discomfort or pain experienced while bearing weight on the affected side.

Pelvic Asymmetry

Sacroiliac arthropathy can cause an imbalance in the pelvis. This leads to pelvic asymmetry.


This can result in a visible tilt or rotation of the pelvis, affecting posture and alignment.

Scoliosis or Spinal Curvature

In some cases, sacroiliac arthropathy can contribute to the development of scoliosis. This is an abnormal curvature of the spine.


Pelvic asymmetry and imbalanced forces on the spine can lead to postural changes and spinal curvature.

Forward or Backward Tilting of the Pelvis

The sacroiliac joint dysfunction can result in an anterior (forward) or posterior (backward) tilt of the pelvis.


These changes in pelvic alignment can affect the curvature of the lumbar spine. This contributes to altered posture.

Muscle Imbalances

Chronic sacroiliac joint dysfunction can lead to muscle imbalances around the hip and pelvis. Certain muscles may become tight or overactive, while others may weaken or become inhibited.


These imbalances can further contribute to postural changes and movement dysfunctions.

Limited Range of Motion

People with sacroiliac arthropathy may experience reduced flexibility and limited range of motion. These symptoms may appear in the lower back, hips, or pelvis.


This can affect activities that involve bending, twisting, or turning.

Relationship Between Sacroiliac Arthropathy and Sciatica

Sacroiliac arthropathy and sciatica are separate conditions. But, there can be some relationship or coexistence between them in certain cases.

How is Sacroiliac Arthropathy Different from Sciatica?

As mentioned above, sacroiliac arthropathy involves inflammation or dysfunction of the sacroiliac joints. It causes:

  • Localized pain
  • Stiffness
  • Limited range of motion in the lower back, buttocks, and hips

It is aggravated by activities that stress these joints.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica refers to pain radiating along the path of the sciatic nerve. It is caused by compression or irritation of the nerve roots in the lower spine.


Sacroiliac arthropathy can sometimes irritate nearby nerve roots. This causes symptoms like those found in sciatica.

Medical Evaluation is Necessary

An evaluation by a professional is necessary to differentiate between the two conditions. This is because their causes and treatment approaches may vary.


Diagnostic imaging and clinical assessment help to make a diagnosis and guide treatment.

How Long Do Sacroiliac Arthropathy Symptoms Last?

The duration of sacroiliac arthropathy symptoms varies from person to person. It depends on several factors. This includes the cause, individual characteristics, and the effectiveness of treatment.


In general, symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy can be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term).

Important Note About Symptoms of Sacroiliac Arthropathy

It’s important to note that symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy vary in intensity over time. Some individuals may experience periods of symptom flare-ups followed by relief.


It’s also possible for symptoms to improve or resolve with appropriate treatment and self-care measures.

Acute Sacroiliac Arthropathy

Acute symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy last for a few weeks to a few months. Acute sacroiliac arthropathy can occur as a result of an injury or an episode of inflammation.


With appropriate treatment and management, acute symptoms can resolve within a short time frame.

Chronic Sacroiliac Arthropathy

Chronic symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy refer to persistent or recurring symptoms. These symptoms last for more than three months.

What Causes Chronic Sacroiliac Arthropathy?

Chronic sacroiliac arthropathy may be caused by:

  • Ongoing inflammation
  • Degenerative changes in the joint
  • A chronic condition such as ankylosing spondylitis

How to Manage Chronic Symptoms

Managing chronic symptoms often requires a comprehensive approach involving:

  • Medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Lifestyle modifications

Can Symptoms Be Managed with Non-Surgical Treatments?

Non-surgical options are often the first treatment for symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy. 


Some common non-surgical treatment options for sacroiliac arthropathy include:

  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Heat and cold therapy
  • Assistive devices
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Education and self-care

In cases where non-surgical treatments are not effective, surgical interventions may be considered. 


Surgical options for sacroiliac arthropathy include sacroiliac joint fusion or stabilization procedures.

Potential Complications of Untreated Sacroiliac Arthropathy

If left untreated, sacroiliac arthropathy can lead to several complications and impact a person’s quality of life.


Some of the potential complications of untreated symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Reduced mobility and functional limitations
  • Muscle imbalances and compensatory movements
  • Impaired quality of life
  • Increased risk of secondary conditions

Importance of Seeking Medical Attention

It’s essential to seek medical attention if you suspect you have sacroiliac arthropathy. This includes if you are experiencing symptoms.


Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help manage symptoms. This helps prevent complications and improve functioning and quality of life.

Why Do Symptoms Worsen Over Time?

Symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy can worsen over time due to several factors. This includes:

  • The progression of the underlying condition
  • Ongoing inflammation
  • The cumulative effect of repetitive stress or inadequate management

What Do Worsening Symptoms Look Like?

Here are some ways in which symptoms can worsen over time:

  • Disease progression
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Inadequate treatment or management
  • Cumulative stress and overuse
  • Secondary complications
Symptoms of Sacroiliac Arthropathy

Treatment Options For Sacroiliac Arthropathy

The treatment of sacroiliac arthropathy aims to improve daily life. This includes working to reduce pain and inflammation, improve mobility, and enhance function.


The specific treatment options recommended for sacroiliac arthropathy may vary.

Common Treatment Approaches

Some common treatment approaches include:

  • Medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Heat and cold therapy
  • Assistive devices
  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Steroid injections
  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
  • Sacroiliac joint fusion

How to Get the Help You Need

For treatment, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional. This allows you to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.


Treatment is often tailored to the specific needs of the patient. This may include a combination of non-surgical and surgical options.

Learn More About the Symptoms of Sacroiliac Arthropathy with J. Flowers Health Institute

Discover relief from the symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy with J. Flowers Health Institute. Our expert team specializes in comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plans.


Don’t let pain and limited mobility hold you back. Schedule your consultation today and take the first step towards a better quality of life.