Facet Joint Pain Treatment
Facet joint pain treatment may include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, changes in biomechanics, steroid injections, and pelvic tilt exercises at work.
Unlike other synovial joints such as the shoulder and knee, treatment of facet joints that have undergone arthritis changes does not involve replacement of the joint. Usually, this problem can be treated with physical therapy, non-narcotic medications, correction of biomechanics, and correction of bad posture. A person's body mechanics and posture may greatly affect facet joints, as the way you hold your body up may cause significant strain on the spinal ligaments and facet joints. If physical therapy, and correction of biomechanics doesn't provide the patient with significant relief, or if the patient is experiencing an outbreak of pain, then steroid injections may provide relief for weeks to months. None of these treatments are expected to provide permanent relief of symptoms related to the problem, but they may increase the intervals between outbreaks of symptoms.
- Exercise that doesn't irritate the joints of the spine, may help to strengthen the spine to reduce strain on soft tissues such as the intervertebral discs and facet joints. If your facet joint arthritis causes you to have chronic back pain, your doctor may offer you appointments with a physical therapist to learn back exercises designed to strengthen the back and protect the facet joints.
- Posture. The way you sit and stand, and the posture of your body that you employ when you pick up and carry objects may greatly affect the health of the soft tissues of your back. When you use good posture, you will maintain a healthy curvature of the spine, and not cause strain on the facet joints of your back. Examples of good posture would be lifting and carrying weights while maintaining a straight back, lifting with your legs and not your back, and sitting in a chair that offers good lumbar support, without slouching forward. Examples of bad posture would be sitting in a chair with your back bent forwards or backwards. Many people assume that the cause of chronic back pain would more likely to be caused by working in construction rather than an office, but sitting for extended periods of time can put a lot of strain on the lower back. In an ideal set-up for a office workstation, a person's back would be straight, and their knees, hips, and elbows would be bent at between a 90-120 degree angle. The person's computer screen should be straight in front of the person, and the center of the computer screen should be at roughly eye level. If the person does a lot of typing on the computer, their wrists should be nearly straight. People who sit for extended periods of the day, such as in the car seat or in the desk chair, may do an exercise known as a pelvic tilt, several times a day. The pelvic tilt may be done when sitting or standing. In this exercise, someone pinches together the buttocks and rotates the lower pelvis forward - and holds that position for several seconds.
- Are there aspects of your job or lifestyle that increase strain on your lower back? If so, are there any changes you can make to avoid activities that strain your back. Try considering changes that may decrease the time you spend commuting to work, performing back exercises at work, and taking frequent breaks.
- Anti-inflammatory medications may provide significant pain relief and help to relieve inflammation in irritated facet joints.