Sacroiliac Joint Pain: When Sitting is Unbearable

24 January, 2019
Since sacroiliac pain can have many different causes, seeing a doctor before taking any drugs or alternative medicine is important.

There is a tricky spot in your back located right where your spinal column and pelvis come together. Discomfort in this area could be due to sacroiliac joint pain.

When it gets inflamed, there is an intense shooting pain in the sacroiliac joint, a condition that is much more common than you may think.

It is known as sacroiliitis, or sacroiliac joint pain, and you notice it mostly when you sit and get up or when you move around at night in your bed.

Addtionally, it may gradually get worse until even just sitting can feel almost unbearable.

Notably, some consider it a direct result of the sedentary lifestyle that is so pervasive in today’s culture.

However, this ideas is not completely true. Sacroiliac joint pain is actually also associated with:

  • Arthritis
  • Pregnancy
  • Traumatic falls
  • Infection

Today we’d like to talk about this kind of condition that you may have experienced at some time in your life, maybe even right now.

Sacroiliac joint pain: when you think you have a herniated disc

illustration of sacroiliac joint pain

Fever, a shooting pain in your lower back that extends to your glutes and thighs… do you have a herniated disc?

Perhaps, this is the first thought that runs through your mind if you have sacroiliitis, or sacroiliac joint pain, and feel worsening pain when you get out of bed in the morning or sit for a few hours.

So, something that’s good to keep in mind before we get into it is that this kind of inflammation located in one or both of the sacroiliac joints is not easy to diagnose.

It is often attributed to other problems like a herniated disc or even classic lower back pain.

So, it’s a good idea to distinguish between the two kinds of sacroiliac pain:

  • The first kind is a simple inflamation of the joints that make up your sacroiliac.
  • However, the other is associated with improper movements made over a long period of time.

For example, maybe you have an ankle issue stemming from an injury or sprain. And, you’ve been walking improperly for a long time. As a result, your sacroiliac area may wear down. Then, the pain may appear without any inflammation.

“Read this too: 6 Possible Causes of Recurring Hip Pain”

Symptoms of sacroiliac joint pain

man with lower back pain or sacroiliac joint pain

Sacroiliac joint pain is more common in women than men . This is because it sometimes results from arthritis, lupus, osteoarthritis, or other conditions.

  • First, you may feel the pain in the butt and lower back.
  • Then, it radiates down the leg, groin, and even to your feet.
  • However, the pain is worse when you go up stairs, when you sit, when you move around in bed, or when you take long steps or lunges.
  • Sometimes, you may have a fever.
  • Additionally, stiffness in the back is common.

“Find out Relieve Arthritis in Your Hands with These 6 Natural Remedies”

What causes sacroiliac joint pain?

As we mentioned above, this pain is not associated exclusively with a sedentary lifestyle.

It’s clear that being active and exercising reduces the probability of having this kind of joint problem, but it’s not always in your hands. It is not 100% preventable.

Now let’s look at some of the related causes:

  • Diseases like arthritis or osteoarthritis, already mentioned.
  • Lupus and psoriasis.
  • Crohn’s disease, due to the inflammation it causes, may also manifest in sacroiliac pain.
  • Trauma or injury to the are. A bad fall, for example, is one of the most frequent causes.
  • Pregnancy, mostly due to the weight of the baby causing intense pain in the area.
  • Infections like osteomyelitis.
  • Urinary tract infections.
illustration of sacroiliac joint pain

What kind of treatments are there for sacroiliac joint pain?

Before using any kind of treatment, even homemade or natural, getting a proper medical diagnosis is necessary. As we said at the beginning: it is not easy to find the cause of this lower back pain.

So x-rays, an MRI, analysis, and a physical exam will be needed to diagnose sacroiliitis.

Likewise, once diagnosed, it’s important to find out what is causing the condition. Treating sacroiliac pain from arthritis won’t be the same as if the pain is from Crohn’s disease, for example.

Here are some of the most common—and general—treatments for pain and inflammation:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, or cortisone shots
  • Massages done by a physical therapist
  • Swimming
  • Gentle exercise and stretching
  • Radiofrequency denervation is another option to consider. A specialist will determine whether it is an option, and it consists of destroying the nerve tissue that is causing the joint pain.
  • Electrical nerve stimulation in the affected area is now another commonly used treatment.

“Find out 5 Recommendations to Improve Your Posture and Relieve Back Pain”

women doing yoga to ease sacroiliac joint pain

To conclude, sacroiliac joint pain has many different causes.

Sometimes it goes away after a few days, and in other cases it may turn into a persistent pain once you reach a certain age and other common conditions show up, like arthritis.

The best thing to do is to try different medical approaches to find the one that will give you the best quality of life.

  • Personal de Clínica Mayo. Sacroilitis, síntomas y causas.(2017).

  • Personal de Clínica Mayo. Sacroilitis, diagnóstico y tratamiento.(2017).

  • Revista de la Sociedad Española del Dolor. Vol 21, no. 3, Madrid. Dolor sacroiliaco. (2014)

  • E. Mejía, M. Arias, K. Valdez, S. Carrillo2, G. Infante. Revista de la Sociedad Española del Dolor. 3: 170-180; 2008 Dolor de la articulación sacroilíaca. Anatomía, Diagnóstico y Tratamiento.