Lumbar Facet Joint Pain Management

Why this resource is helpful:

Low back pain can commonly be caused by arthritis affecting the lumbar facet joints. This pain is easily treatable.
Quoted From:

"What are lumbar facet joints?
Facet joints are paired joints that interlink adjacent vertebral bone throughout the spine. These joints, in addition to intervertebral discs, allow for and guide movement of the spine.
These joints, like any joints in the body, can experience "wear and tear", develop degenerative changes known as arthritis, and become a source of pain.
What does lumbar facet joint pain feel like?
Patients with lumbar facet joint pain typically experience pain in the low back area. These joints can commonly "refer" pain and the pain can be described radiating down into the buttock and back of the thigh. With this pain, muscles in the surrounding area can spasm in attempt to stabilize the joint segment.
This form of arthritis of the back can also limit movement of the spine. Typically patients have difficulty with standing straight up and bending backwards.
How is lumbar facet joint pain diagnosed?
A physician or healthcare provider with experience in pain management and treating back pain can easily diagnose pain from facet arthritis (arthropathy). Imaging, including MRI and x-rays, can confirm the diagnosis of facet joint arthritis.
How is this condition treated?
Commonly, providers may tell patients that they have arthritis in the back and that there is no treatment. Fortunately this does not have to be the case. If typical conservative management doesn"t help, including rest, physical therapy, medications, etc, then there are interventional treatment options available.
Like simple knee injections with corticosteroids, the facet joints can also be injected directly under x-ray guidance with corticosteroids to relieve the pain. Often the joints are difficult to access or the medications doesn"t last as long as we would like.
Another treatment option for pain management includes a procedure called a radiofrequency ablation. There are small nerve fibers that relay the joint pain signal up to the brain. These nerve fibers can be cauterized and the pain signal interrupted. Prior to this procedure, two diagnostic tests must be performed to confirm the diagnosis. Patients are typically very satisfied with the results from this procedure."

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