What Is Sacroiliac Arthropathy?

What is sacroiliac arthropathy? What are the symptoms, risk factors, and treatment options? Find out here.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Sacroiliac Arthropathy

What is sacroiliac arthropathy, and how is it treated? People wondering about this condition will find comprehensive information in this article.


Sacroiliac arthropathy is a problem in the sacroiliac joints. This problem causes pain, stiffness, and other symptoms. People might feel pain in the lower back, hips, buttocks, and legs.1 

What Are the Sacroiliac Joints?

In order to understand “what is sacroiliac arthropathy?”, we must first understand the sacroiliac joints. 


The sacroiliac joints, or SI joints, are located where the sacrum connects to the ilium. The sacrum is a small bone above your tailbone, and the ilium is the top of your pelvis or hip bone. 


The sacroiliac joints provide stability and pass forces between the spine and the pelvis. These joints are important for posture, balance, and coordinated movement. 

Learn About Sacroiliac Arthropathy

In this article, we will discuss the question “what is sacroiliac arthropathy?” in detail. We will share the causes, common symptoms, and typical tests and treatments. 


People with this condition can work with healthcare professionals at J. Flowers Health Institute to reduce pain and improve joint function. 

What Causes This Condition to Develop in the Sacroiliac Joint?

What is sacroiliac arthropathy, and what causes this condition? Sacroiliac arthropathy, or sacroiliitis, can develop due to various factors. 

Common Causes

Causes can include inflammation, trauma, infection, and more. When considering “what is sacroiliac arthropathy,” it’s key to know these common causes:

Inflammatory Conditions

Causes can include inflammation, trauma, infection, and more. When considering “what is sacroiliac arthropathy,” it’s key to know these common causes:

Trauma or Injury

Direct trauma to the sacroiliac joint can cause inflammation and lead to sacroiliitis. This can happen due to accidents. 

Mechanical Stress

Prolonged mechanical stress on the sacroiliac joint can contribute to inflammation. 


Activities that involve repetitive movements, like frequent bending or twisting at work, can stress your joint.

Pregnancy and Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes can relax and loosen the sacroiliac joints, leading to inflammation and pain. Sacroiliitis related to pregnancy usually resolves after childbirth.


In rare cases, sacroiliac joint infection, known as septic sacroiliitis, can occur. Bacteria from an infection can spread to the sacroiliac joint through the bloodstream.

Degenerative Changes

Stress on the sacroiliac joint can lead to degenerative changes, including osteoarthritis. These degenerative changes can cause inflammation and pain in the joint.

Other Causes

Sacroiliac arthropathy can sometimes occur without an identifiable cause. The condition is “non-specific” or “idiopathic” sacroiliitis in such cases.

Why Is It Important to Determine the Cause of Sacroiliac Arthropathy?

Treatment approaches may vary depending on the underlying cause. People wondering, “What is sacroiliac arthropathy?” should seek a proper diagnosis from a healthcare provider


Determining the cause of sacroiliac arthropathy requires a comprehensive evaluation by a professional. 

What Is Sacroiliac Arthropathy?: Common Symptoms

Symptoms can vary from person to person. However, this condition has several typical symptoms to help determine what is sacroiliac arthropathy. 

Pain Symptoms

Many common symptoms of sacroiliac arthropathy involve pain. These symptoms may include:

  • Lower back pain: This is the hallmark symptom of sacroiliac arthropathy. People usually feel pain on one side of the lower back, which might radiate to the buttocks, hips, groin, or thighs. The pain can be mild or severe.
  • Hip or buttock pain: People with sacroiliac arthropathy often experience sharp, dull, or achy pain in the hip joint or buttock. It might get worse with prolonged sitting or standing.
  • Pain with movement: Lifting, prolonged standing, walking long distances, or climbing stairs can worsen the pain.
  • Pain during rest: Pain might persist at night, affecting sleep quality.

Stiffness Symptoms

People may experience lower back, hips, and pelvis stiffness. Patients may have trouble doing anything that requires bending or rotating the trunk. People may feel they have a limited range of motion.

Tenderness or Swelling Symptoms

People may also notice symptoms of tenderness or swelling. The sacroiliac joint may be tender to the touch. 


In some cases, there might be mild swelling or inflammation in the surrounding area.

How Does Sacroiliac Arthropathy Differ From Other Spinal Disorders?

People wondering, “What is sacroiliac arthropathy?” will want to differentiate it from other joint conditions. Specific characteristics can help patients and healthcare professionals tell the difference. 


Here are some key ways sacroiliac arthropathy symptoms differ from other spinal problems:

  • Pain location: Sacroiliac arthropathy pain is typically on one side of the lower back, buttocks, or hips. Other spinal disorders cause pain that radiates down the leg or affects the back.  
  • Aggravated by movements: Specific movements, like twisting, bending, or prolonged standing, worsen the pain. 
  • Response to rest: Sacroiliac arthropathy pain might persist through the night. However, other spinal conditions show improvement with rest. 
  • Tender points and swelling: People may notice tenderness and mild swelling around the sacroiliac joint. Other spinal disorders may not present with localized tenderness or swelling.

It’s essential to determine whether the person’s pain is due to sacroiliac arthropathy or some other condition. Healthcare professionals can determine what is sacroiliac arthropathy and what is not.

What Is Sacroiliac Arthropathy?: Prevention

Sacroiliac arthropathy is challenging to prevent completely. Still, people can learn more about the answer to “what is sacroiliac arthropathy?”, reduce their risk and reduce the impact of joint dysfunction on their lives. 


Prevention measures include:

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Excess weight puts extra stress on the joints, including the sacroiliac joint. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the load on the joint. 

Practicing Good Posture

Proper posture can help distribute weight and forces throughout the spine and pelvis. This will reduce strain on the sacroiliac joint.


Activities that target the core muscles can stabilize and support the sacroiliac joint. Low-impact exercises like swimming, walking, and yoga can be beneficial.

Avoiding prolonged sitting or standing

Prolonged sitting or standing can place strain on the sacroiliac joint. If a job requires periods of sitting or standing, take frequent breaks to stretch. Also, change positions, or perform gentle exercises to relieve stress on the joint.


These preventive measures reduce the risk of sacroiliac arthropathy. However, not all patients can prevent it. If the condition is associated with an underlying disease or structural abnormalities, it’s difficult to avoid.

What Is Sacroiliac Arthropathy?: Diagnosis

To identify and diagnose this problem, physicians may use various diagnostic tests. They typically look carefully at the patient’s body and history, use imaging like X-rays, and order other tests. 

Medical History and Physical Examination

A physician will take a detailed medical history. This includes information about the patient’s symptoms, duration, and potential contributing factors. They will perform a physical examination.

Imaging Tests

Healthcare providers use imaging tests to see inside the body and provide an accurate diagnosis. Imaging can include X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT) scans.2


Imaging tests can:

  • X-ray images: These can help visualize abnormalities, such as joint erosion or fusion.3
  • MRI scans: These scans take detailed pictures of the sacroiliac joints and surrounding structures. This helps doctors detect inflammation, joint damage, or other underlying causes of sacroiliac pain.
  • CT scans: These scans provide cross-sectional images of the sacroiliac joints. This helps to evaluate the bony structures in detail.

Other Tests

Healthcare professionals may also gather information through special injections, maneuvers, or blood tests. These help determine what is sacroiliac arthropathy and what is not. 


Additional testing methods include:

  • Sacroiliac joint injection: In this procedure, the healthcare provider injects an anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medicine into the sacroiliac joint. The provider uses fluoroscopy or ultrasound to do this procedure correctly. If it provides pain relief, this suggests the sacroiliac joint was causing the pain. 
  • Provocation tests: A healthcare professional may maneuver your body in a way designed to reproduce the patient’s sacroiliac joint pain. If the person feels pain during the test, it suggests the sacroiliac joint is involved.4 
  • Blood tests: There are no specific blood tests to diagnose sacroiliac arthropathy. Still, providers may run blood tests for more information. They look for specific blood markers for autoimmune conditions to rule out other causes of joint inflammation.

What Is Sacroiliac Arthropathy?: Common Treatments

The treatment of sacroiliac arthropathy aims to alleviate pain and improve joint function. Treatment usually involves a combination of non-surgical and surgical interventions. 


The treatment varies depending on the severity of symptoms and the underlying cause. 

Who Treats Sacroiliac Arthropathy?

People asking themselves “What is sacroiliac arthropathy?” should talk with an experienced healthcare professional. Experienced providers help patients select tailored, suitable treatments and develop reasonable expectations for success.


A multidisciplinary team approach is best. This means patients see pain management specialists, physical therapists, and surgeons.


Here are some common treatments for the condition: 

Non-Surgical Treatments

These treatments do not involve surgery:

  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapists develop individualized exercise programs. The goal is to improve flexibility and strengthen the muscles supporting the sacroiliac joint.

  • Medications: Healthcare providers may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other pain medications to reduce inflammation and discomfort. They may also suggest topical agents (used on the skin) such as lidocaine patches and capsaicin cream.

  • Heat and Ice Therapy: Applying heat or cold to the affected area can help reduce pain and inflammation.

  • Assistive Devices: Assistive devices, like braces or belts, compress the sacroiliac joint to support it and reduce pain.

Minimally Invasive Procedures

These procedures might include some surgical techniques but are typically less intense than traditional surgery: 

  • Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA): RFA uses heat energy to disrupt the nerve supply to the sacroiliac joint. This process can provide pain relief.

  • Steroid Injections: Injection of corticosteroids into the sacroiliac joint can reduce pain and inflammation.

Fusion Surgery

In severe cases where non-surgical treatments fail, the next step is surgery. Fusion surgery permanently fuses the sacroiliac joint and eliminates movement, alleviating pain and other symptoms.

Success Rates of Different Treatment Options

It’s essential to recognize that treatment success rates can vary among patients. What works well for one person may be less effective for another. 


Additionally, treatment success is not determined by pain relief, but by improvements in function and quality of life.

What is Sacroiliac Arthropathy?: Long-Term Effects

Sacroiliac arthropathy can have long-term effects, depending on the severity of the condition. Long-term effects can include:

Chronic Pain

Sacroiliac arthropathy often leads to chronic pain in the lower back and hips. This ongoing pain can impact the patient’s quality of life and daily activities.

Muscle Imbalances and Compensatory Mechanisms

With joint dysfunction, the body might be out of balance. One side of the body, or muscle groups, might work harder or differently to compensate. 


This can result in altered movement patterns, muscle weakness, and tightness.

Secondary Joint Problems

Sacroiliac arthropathy can change the way the spine and pelvis work. This may increase the risk of developing problems in another joint. 


Such problems include lumbar spine dysfunction, hip joint problems, or knee pain.

Emotional and Psychological Impact

Dealing with chronic pain can affect a person’s emotional well-being. It may lead to increased stress, anxiety, and depression. Emotional support and appropriate coping strategies are essential for managing these effects.


Managing the long-term effects of sacroiliac arthropathy involves a comprehensive approach. This involves pain management, functional rehabilitation, emotional support, and lifestyle adjustments.

How Can Patients Reduce the Risks of Long-Term Effects?

Patients can take several steps to manage the risks associated with sacroiliac arthropathy. 


Key steps include:

  • Education
  • Professional help
  • Pain management
  • Physical therapy

People wondering, “What is sacroiliac arthropathy?” do not have to face the problem alone. It’s important to communicate and follow up with a healthcare provider regularly. They can address emerging complications and adjust the management plan as needed.

Factors that Impact the Likelihood of Recovery

What is sacroiliac arthropathy, and what determines whether people get better? Various factors can influence the possibility of recovery. 


Each patient’s experience differs, but some common factors include the following:

Condition Severity

People with milder cases may experience better outcomes than those with more severe or advanced diseases.

Timeliness of Diagnosis and Treatment

Early diagnosis and prompt initiation of appropriate treatment can contribute to better outcomes.4

Timely intervention can help manage symptoms and improve the chances of recovery.

Adherence to a Treatment Plan

Consistency and adherence to the recommended treatment plan are crucial for optimizing recovery. Patients who participate in their treatment and follow their provider’s recommendations do better.

Underlying Causes and Associated Conditions

If sacroiliac arthropathy is secondary to an inflammatory condition like ankylosing spondylitis, the primary disease may affect the management and prognosis.

Age and Overall Health

Younger and healthier people may respond better to treatment.

Compliance with Lifestyle Modifications

Lifestyle modifications, like weight management, can be challenging to maintain. However, people who maintain these changes tend to do better in recovery.

Individual Response to Treatment

Each person and each body is unique. Some patients may improve quickly, and some may need more comprehensive support.


Recovery from sacroiliac arthropathy is gradual, and the timeframe can vary. 


However, working with an experienced professional, and adhering to the treatment plan, helps optimize the likelihood of recovery. 

what is sacroiliac arthropathy

What is Sacroiliac Arthropathy?: Care at J. Flowers Health

Care centers specializing in sacroiliac arthropathy can offer specialized treatment options. They are familiar with the latest advancements in the field. This includes conservative and interventional treatments.

J. Flowers Health

J. Flowers Health offers luxurious, customized, holistic care. Our expert professionals are ready to assess and treat the most complex cases of sacroiliac arthropathy. With our highly personalized care, patients can relieve pain and achieve a higher quality of life.

At J. Flowers Health, you can receive a proper diagnosis, treatment plan, and expert support. We will help you understand all aspects of “what is sacroiliac arthropathy?” We will address your concerns every step of the way.

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Early intervention and proper management play a crucial role in sacroiliac arthropathy. Click here to learn more, and contact us today


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