Treatments and drugs

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The type of treatment your doctor will recommend depends on the signs and symptoms you're having, as well as the underlying cause of your sacroiliitis.

Medications

Depending on the cause of your pain, your doctor may recommend:

  • Pain relievers. If over-the-counter pain medications don't provide enough relief, your doctor may prescribe stronger versions of these drugs. Occasionally, a short course of narcotics may be prescribed. Narcotics are habit-forming and shouldn't be used for long periods of time.
  • Muscle relaxants. Medications such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril, Amrix) may help reduce the muscle spasms often associated with sacroiliitis.
  • TNF inhibitors. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors — such as etanercept (Enbrel), adalimumab (Humira) and infliximab (Remicade) — often help relieve the type of sacroiliitis that's associated with ankylosing spondylitis.

Therapy

Your doctor or physical therapist can help you learn range-of-motion and stretching exercises to maintain joint flexibility, and strengthening exercises to give your muscles additional stability.

Surgical and other procedures

If other methods haven't relieved your pain, you doctor might suggest:

  • Joint injections. Corticosteroids can be injected directly into the joint to reduce inflammation and pain. But you can receive only a few joint injections a year because the steroids can weaken your joint's bones and tendons.
  • Radiofrequency denervation. Radiofrequency energy can damage or destroy the nerve tissue causing your pain.
  • Electrical stimulation. Implanting an electrical stimulator into the sacrum may help reduce pain caused by sacroiliitis.
  • Joint fusion. Although surgery is rarely used to treat sacroiliitis, fusing the two bones together with metal hardware can sometimes relieve sacroiliitis pain.
Jan. 09, 2013

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