Skip to main content

Sacroiliac Disease

Sacroiliac Disease

Definition

Sacroiliac disease is high-impact trauma to the sacroiliac joint that can cause death, or bone, and nerve damage.

Description

The sacroiliac joint is a strong, weight bearing synovial joint between the ilium and sacrum bones of the pelvis. The bones are held in place and allowed limited movements by a system of sacroiliac ligaments. Relaxation of this and other joints and ligaments is important during pregnancy and is accomplished by a special hormone called relaxin. Usually the sacroiliac is damaged by high-impact injuries. These injuries may be life threatening and mortality is approximately 20% if neighboring structures are also damaged. Injuries to this area often includes neurological deficits. Dislocation and nerve damage are frequently missed in the diagnosis.

Causes and symptoms

The primary cause of dislocations, fractures, and accompanying damage is usually a traumatic accident. Patients receiving such injuries require emergency medical attention. There may be severe blood loss due to breakage of large bones and resuscitative measures may be required for stabilization.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis can be difficult since nerve damage can mimic other conditions with similar symptoms (i.e., low back pain in persons with sciatica ). Additionally imaging studies and physical examination maneuvers will miss the diagnosis. The definitive method for diagnosing sacroiliac pathology would be injection of local anesthetic in the correct area of the affected sacroiliac joint. This procedure is usually performed using advance guidance systems (CT or fluoroscopic assisted guidance). If the pain is relieved by anesthetic injection, then the diagnosis is confirmed. There are three typical patterns of pain: pain directly over the joint, pain in the groin extending down the affected leg that can mimic the signs associated with a herniated lumbar disc, and pain widely dispersed in the affected leg.

Treatment

Treatment initially can include emergency interventions, but usually is conservative. Treatment includes physical therapy, manipulation, and medications for pain control. In some cases a sacroiliac belt can help with symptoms. In sacroiliac joint disease that has already progressed and is chronic and severe, corrective joint fusion may be indicated.

Prognosis

Outcome is variable and takes into account the extent of injuries, early diagnosis, and responsiveness to conservative treatment.

Prevention

There is no known prevention since the disease is secondary to an accident.

Resources

BOOKS

Goetz, Christopher G., et al, editors. Textbook of Clinical Neurology. 1st ed. W. B. Saunders Company, 1999.

Ruddy, Shaun, et al, editors. Kelly's Textbook of Rheumatology. 6th ed. W. B. Saunders Company, 2001.

OTHER

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://www.aaos.org.

KEY TERMS

Herniated disk A protrusion in a disk located in the spinal column.

Ligament Fibrous tissue which connect bones.

Synovial joint A joint that allows for bone movement.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Sacroiliac Disease." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Feb. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Sacroiliac Disease." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sacroiliac-disease

"Sacroiliac Disease." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed.. . Retrieved February 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sacroiliac-disease

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.