Facet Syndrome and lower back pain

Ever heard of a facet joint?

Ya probably not but you have a whole bunch of them all up and down your spine – four facet joints per vertebra really.  That’s tons considering in your lower back you have 5 lumbar (or lower back) vertebrae and a sacrum (more lower back stuff).

Suffice it to say that’s a lot of joints – why? more joints mean more mobility.  Your spine needs to be bendy to that you can move.  Simple as that.

excessive posterior loading of the lumbar spine leads to facet syndrome

(more about facet joints and facet syndrome and photo credit here: https://learnmuscles.com/blog/2017/09/27/17880/  )

The problem is that when one of these facet joints gets inflamed or irritated – it’s not such a party for the owner of the lower back.  These suckers are highly innervated (lots of nerves).  Lots of nerves means they can be big pain generators when they are pissed off.  Yes, pissed off facet joint is a diagnosis – we just use different language – but you get the point.

How to piss off your facet joints 101

Best way is to load your spine by carrying something then twist.

If you are really lucky, you will make one of the facets mad – sometimes people hear a pop, sometimes not.  Sometimes it happens right away and sometimes it is slower pain that develops over hours.

The pain from this can be sharp and excruciating – often feels like something is catching in the lower back and can be felt in a band like a belt around the lower back – sometimes on one side more than the other and often wrapping around to the front too.

How to fix a pissed off facet joint

A chiropractic adjustment is by far the most effective thing in my opinion.  It may take a few before you feel a difference because by the time people get to the chiro it has often been several days and allowed the inflammation to collect and do more damage.  The sooner you get some care the better.

Other things to do include ice, massage, and kinesiotape or other methods like TENS for pain control.

There is really no great exercise to fix this one – it is a joint level problem so moving the joints (aka a chiropractic adjustment) is really the best way to go.