Etiopathogenesis of sacroiliitis: Implications for assessment and management

Manuela Baronio, Hajra Sadia, Stefano Paolacci, Domenico Prestamburgo, Danilo Miotti, Vittorio A. Guardamagna, Giuseppe Natalini, Matteo Bertelli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The sacroiliac joints connect the base of the sacrum to the ilium. When inflamed, they are suspected to cause low back pain. Inflammation of the sacroiliac joints is called sacroiliitis. The severity of the pain varies and depends on the degree of inflammation. Sacroiliitis is a hallmark of seronegative spondyloarthropathies. The presence or absence of chronic sacroiliitis is an important clue in the diagnosis of low back pain. This article aims to provide a concise overview of the anatomy, physiology, and molecular biology of sacroiliitis to aid clinicians in the assessment and management of sacroiliitis. For this narrative review, we evaluated articles in English published before August 2019 in PubMed. Then, we selected articles related to the painful manifestations of the sacroiliac joint. From the retrieved articles, we found that chronic sacroiliitis may be caused by various forms of spondyloarthritis, such as ankylosing spondyloarthritis. Sacroiliitis can also be associated with inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's disease, gout, tuberculosis, brucellosis, and osteoarthritis, indicating common underlying etiological factors. The pathophysiology of sacroiliitis is complex and may involve internal, environmental, immunological, and genetic factors. Finally, genetic factors may also play a central role in progression of the disease. Knowing the genetic pre-disposition for sacroiliitis can be useful for diagnosis and for formulating treatment regimens, and may lead to a substantial reduction in disease severity and duration and to improved patient performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-304
Number of pages11
JournalKorean Journal of Pain
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Ankylosing
  • Inflammation
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
  • Low Back Pain
  • Sacroiliac Joint
  • Sacroiliitis
  • Sacrum
  • Spondylitis
  • Spondyloarthropathies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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