What are the Treatment Options for Sacroiliitis?
Sacroiliitis, caused by trauma, inflammation, degeneration, or disease in the sacroiliac joint, can have a variety of causes. Fortunately, patients also have a variety of treatment options, and as no two cases are alike, the best therapy for each individual will be determined by the physician in consultation with the patient, based on the symptoms and underlying cause of the sacroiliitis. These treatment options include medication, lifestyle changes, physical therapy, injections, and surgery.
The most common medications for treatment of sacroiliitis include pain relievers (over-the-counter or prescription) and muscle relaxants. Physical therapy options include stretching exercises for sacroiliitis to increase joint flexibility, and chiropractic manipulation. Simple lifestyle changes like getting sufficient rest, maintaining proper posture, and applying alternating ice and heat can also help relieve sacroiliitis symptoms. Changing one’s sleep position – for example, sleeping on one’s side with a pillow between the knees – can also help reduce the pain of sacroiliitis. Occasional use of a pelvic belt may provide symptomatic relief from sacroiliitis pain as well.
Injections of corticosteroids directly into the joint can also alleviate symptoms of sacroiliitis, but should only be performed three or four times per year as steroids can weaken bones and tendons in the joints. Radiofrequency denervation, another treatment option for sacroiliitis, can desensitize the nerve tissue causing the condition, thereby eliminating its pain and other symptoms.
For patients who don’t respond to such conservative sacroiliitis treatment measures, a surgical fusion procedure can stabilize the sacroiliac joint. Until recently, this procedure was very complex and was performed through large incisions, and thus was considered a treatment option of last resort. But today sacroiliac joint fusion can be performed using a new generation of implants and minimally invasive surgery techniques. One such system is the iFuse System, which is a real breakthrough in the treatment of sacroiliitis, and we’ll focus on this advance in our next blog.