Low Back Pain – Facet Joints

Back pain would have to be the most common complaint that we as osteopaths see. However what you may not know is that there are many different causes of low back pain. In this new series, we will look at the different types and how an osteopath can help.

Facet sprains are a very common cause of low back pain. The facet joints are the joints between each vertebrae in your spine. They are surrounded by connective tissue that is designed to keep them in place.

When you sprain a facet joint, you stress this connective tissue (a bit like if you sprained your ankle). This often occurs with lifting, twisting or reaching. It is more likely to occur if you have been putting your back through a lot of ongoing stress  eg. Slouching when sitting or lifting with bad posture.

This stress causes inflammation in the area and the surrounding muscles tighten up to try to protect the joint. Sometimes this inflammation can irritate a nerve and cause pain into the buttock and leg. This is often mistaken as a disc bulge compressing the nerve. The joint also becomes restricted, leading to stiffness in the back.

Osteopaths can treat facet sprains by relaxing the surrounding muscles and getting the joint moving the way it’s meant to. This is achieved through a combination of soft tissue techniques, joint manipulation and other techniques tailored to each patient. Exercises and stretches may also be prescribed.

You can contact us at the clinic for further information or to book an appointment.

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