Facet Joint Injury

lower back pain


I’m sure we have all been there. Bent over to pick up a pencil, sneezed violently, or simply tying your shoelaces and WHAM.  Out of no-where, your back “goes’. Sharp knife-like pain. It’s excruciating and you immediately start to think the worst. Your back goes into spasm, your muscles tighten and now you can’t straighten up. We get it. It’s scary. It’s worrying. Especially if it doesn’t seem to improve quickly.

Rest assured, this type of back pain is extremely common. It’s so common that approximately 1 70-90% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives.

” Extreme-pain does NOT equal damage!! “

What Have I Done To My Back?

Simply, you have sprained a joint in your back. Just like you can sprain your ankle or your knee. You can sprain a joint in your back. The medical term for this joint is a “facet Joint.”  Each spinal segment has two facet joints ( Left and Right) and is located between the vertebrae of the spine. Their primary role is to help guide movement and are stabilized by our “Core” muscles. A great reason to keep your core strong.

Facet Joint

What Can Cause a Facet Joint Injury?

We often see 2 presentations of this type of Injury. The SUDDEN quick onset of pain. In this scenario, the movement has exceeded its usual level of control. This can be an awkward twisting or sudden jarring event which precedes pain.

Then there is the GRADUAL onset.  This is often accompanied by the words.. but I just…. “picked up a pencil”, or bent over to tie my shoelaces. This is like the straw that broke the camel’s back. And generally, there are some prior warning signs:

  • A slight niggle.
  • Muscle tightness
  • Pain first thing in the morning.
  • A catching sensation when getting up out of a chair.

These are all common symptoms our patients report when talking about their facet joint injuries. If you are experiencing these types of symptoms, NOW is the time to seek help.

Do I Need a Scan?

NO. Should I say it again NO! These types of injuries do not show up on scans. What you do need is a correct diagnosis and treatment plan. Don’t settle for “NON- SPECIFIC lower back pain. This unicorn doesn’t exist!

What Can I Do to Help My Facet Joint Injury?

  1. Get an Assessment– getting the correct diagnosis should always be your 1st priority. The Osteopaths at Equilibrium Sports and Spinal Clinic located in Glen Iris are highly skilled in identifying these types of injuries.
  2. Hands-On Treatment – Initially manual therapy is a highly effective tool at reducing your pain, improving your mobility, and helping guide you.
  3. Keep Moving – You may have to reduce what you are doing, but movement is essential. Movement is Medicine. Our bodies are designed to move. Reducing your load and intensity or changing the type of movement may be necessary, but keep moving.
  4. Strength. There is no secret – this is the KEY FACTOR in your LONG TERM HEALTH. And one of the most important considerations in ensuring your facet joint injury is treated effectively. If your therapist is not talking about what strengthening exercises you should be doing – FROM THE START – I’m sorry but it’s time to find another therapist!

Osteopathic Treatment for Facet Joint Injuries:

When you first visit with our Osteopaths, our primary goal is to get you out of pain FAST.  We use techniques such as

  • Soft Tissue massage
  • Dry Needling
  • Joint Articulation and MobilisationBack Pain Osteopath
  • Taping techniques
  • Joint Manipulation
  • Exercise Prescription

We will also ensure you are 100% on board and understand, in a language you can understand, exactly what is going on, and where your pain is coming from! We will develop a management plan. A road map that specifically outlines your path to better health and wellbeing.

Our treatment journey with you really begins when you are starting to feel and move better. We want to see you safely return to your normal activity pain-free. But we don’t stop there. We ensure that you and your body are better and stronger than you were before your facet joint injury. By building strength and tolerance we strive to ensure that you and your spine are better able to tolerate the load, so this type of injury is less likely to occur in the future.

Don’t Delay. Take Action NOW

Facet JointListening to your body is essential. Ignoring the early warning signs such as lower back tightness, the odd catching episode, or muscle tightness. This is your body’s early warning system! Ignoring this is setting you up for failure and PAIN! If your body is preventing you from doing the things you love to do. Let us help you regain back your life. Book in with one of our highly experienced Osteopath’s and let’s get you back to living your best life – PAIN-FREE.

Very rarely do these episodes of pain improve without some help. So take action TODAY, Reach out and let the team of Osteopaths at Equilibrium Sports and Spinal Clinic in Glen Iris help you today.

We’d Love To Help You Out With Your Back Pain

Our clinic proudly services the Glen Iris, Malvern, Ashburton Toorak, Camberwell, Hawthorn, Caulfield, Kooyong areas. If you have any questions or would like someone to speak to first you can email us [email protected] .

We would love to help you.


Source: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-musculoskeletal-conditions/back-problems/contents/what-are-back-problems

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