Facet joint syndrome - I'm slowly recovering but is the pain likely to come back in the future? Will I be fully recovered?

For the last 5 months I have been in loads of pain, walking on crutches because the pain down one side of my lower back, bum and leg was ridiculous! Not being able to stand or sit or lay comfortable, the last 5 months have been hard.

I've had x rays , MRI cans and 10 sessions of physio.

My legs and back are still really week due to muscle loss, but Im managing a lot better than what I have been.

I'm just wondering is this something I'm always going to suffer which, I don't really under stand it all, I just know I don't wish back pain on any one, it's one of the most horrible things to have,

5 Replies

  • My lumbar facet joints are rubbing on bone now and I get frequent flare-ups. I'm only just starting to understand that this is where the bulk of my lower back pain originates. It is very possible to manage this pain with Physio, exercise and postural changes. Facet joint injections ( steroid to reduce inflammation ) are sometimes suggested. I turned down the opportunity of having three pairs under general anaesthetic, done by a neurosurgeon. It seemed a lot to me at the time and they often need repeating every three months. Sometimes I wish I had had them done but although at times, many times, I struggle - I do manage. And now I know the main reason for my pain, I am having sports massage to relax the tensed muscles and am working my way back into gentle exercise.

  • Ive got a consultation to look at having the injections next week. I'm just worried about going back to work and being on my feet for 8 hours. I'm going to slowly work my self back to work, but I'm just worried that I'm always going to have flare ups of this pain, or does it heal fully and I'll be back to my normal self. I'm only 24 I'm too young for back problems

  • Facet joint problems usually develop when the cartilage which protects the bone joint wears away and the facet joints rub together causing inflammation and the muscles to tighten painfully. The facet joints help stabilise the vertebra as the spine can move forwards, backwards and from side to side. Clearly they have to work hard. I'm not sure if cartilage can repair. People take supplements like chondroitin to promote cartilage regrowth. Reducing the inflammation is possible as I mentioned in previous post. You are quite young to have facet joint problems but your youthful physiology will help you make the best of things.

  • It will be an ongoing problem. The best you can do is to slow down any more regeneration. Build up the weak muscles, strengthen your core muscles so they take on a bit of supporting the spine. Any of the alternative therapies will help you with this. Pilates - there are remedial classes (regular classes will be too full on). I swear by sports physios to rebalance muscles - can cause more pain in the short term but the longterm benefits are good. Bowen helps to regenerate nerves that have been affected - may get overwhelming fatigue with this. Chiro, cranio, aromatherapies all help in their own ways to relax the body. Chinese drs can help too, they look at everything going on in your body. Meditation and mindfulness give your brain a break from the pain, clear out all the negative thoughts you may have.

  • Hi Melaniee,

    I had a steroid injection into a nerve root in my lower back last June,(a year ago) under anaesthetic and have been so grateful for the relief of the pain. I also have age related wear & tear of the facet joints but my consultant did not want to inject those at that point, and now I can stand and walk again I find exercise can help to keep me moving.

    The two replies above are well worth noting.

    I do hope you can get some help with your problem,

    Chrissy x

You may also like...