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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Patient Education Article: Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction - Part I

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                           Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

                             What is a Sacroiliac Joint?

This joint is at the base of the spine and connects the tailbone (sacrum) to the pelvis. At this joint, the weight of the spine is transferred from the spine to the pelvis and legs. This places a considerable force on the joint. It acts as a small shock absorber as it passes the weight on to the legs. The sacroiliac joint has synovium (joint lining) just like the hip and knee joints.

The sacroiliac joint has very strong connections from the sacrum to the pelvis. They consist of many strands of tough ligaments, which provide stability for the joint. The result is that this joint does not have much mobility. In fact, it typically only moves a fraction of an inch (millimeters). A normal degree of motion is only 2-4 degrees of rotation, and perhaps 2mm of up and down movement (translation). An exception is pregnancy where the ligaments become loser and allow the pelvis to open wider to accommodate the baby as it is born. With age, the sacroiliac joint stiffens and can become virtually fused together.

The Color X-Ray Images show Normal Sacroiliac Joints and Degenerated Sacroiliac Joints. The normal Joints (white) are smooth and wide. The Degenerated Joints (red) are coarse and narrow.
                  What is Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction?
Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction is a painful inflammatory condition of the sacro-iliac joint. It often causes deep hip and buttock pain.
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is most commonly caused by wear and tear and the development of arthritis in the joint
Here are some common causes of sacroiliac joint dysfunction:
-         Trauma to the joint
-         Uneven leg length
-         Arthritis
-         Pregnancy
                What is Sacroiliitis?
      Sacroiliitis is a severe form of Sacroiliac Joint Inflammation. It can be the result of infections or severe Joint Diseases. Here are some causes of Sacroillitis:
-         Infections such as urinary tract (UTI) or heart sac (endocarditis) which spreads to the joint
-         Intravenous drug abuse where infections from contaminated needles spread to the joint
-         Ankylosing Spondylitis
-         Rheumatoid Arthritis
What is the difference between Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction and Sacroiliitis?
Sacroiliitis is part of a specific form of arthritis or spondylitis, where as Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction is a functional problem of the joint. Both conditions cause inflammation of the sacroiliac joint, but it is typically far more acute and severe in sacroiliitis than a sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
What are the symptoms of Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction?

Here are some common symptoms of sacroiliac joint dysfunction and sacroiliitis:
-         Pain in the low back, typically more off to the side
-         Pain in the buttock
-         Pain radiating to the hip and leg
-         Pain with stair climbing
-         Pain with standing for longer periods of time
-         Pain when placing more weight on one leg more than another


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