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Facet Joint Health, Low Back Pain and Upper Back Pain review by KBNI Houston, Kingwood, Spring, Sugarland, Katy, Pearland, Baytown, Beaumont, Clear Lake, Memorial City, the Woodlands
Posted by admin in arthritis, back pain, baytown, beaumont, chiropractic, chiropractor, Clear Lake, conroe, facet joint, Galleria, houston, Humble, imaging, katy, Kingwood, low back pain, lumbar spine, Memorial City, Missouri City, nerves, pain, Pearland, physical exam, physical therapy, Port Arthur, spinal, spinal column, spinal discs, spine, spondylolisthesis, spondylolysis, Spring, Texas City, Tomball, upper back pain, woodlands on January 21, 2016
Facet Joint Health, Low Back Pain and Upper Back Pain
Simply put, the facet joint links the vertebrae of the human spinal column and allow for the articulation of the spine. When they facet joints are not functioning properly, or when they become degenerated, develop arthritis, or slip, they may be the cause of low back pain and upper back pain. In addition to providing mobility, the facet joints also help stabilize the spinal column by being oriented in such a way that they decrease the chances of preventing forward vertebral slippage (spondylolisthesis). The ends of the facet joints are covered in cartilage, which allows for pain-free operation over a normal range of motion (bending, twisting, lifting, sitting, standing, etc.). While the cartilage does break down naturally over time (in this manner resembling cartilage in other parts of the body), the facet joints are still quite durable if direct physical trauma (such as from an accident) is not an issue. The condition known as spondylolisthesis exists when one vertebral body is slipped forward upon the vertebral body below. This is also known as anterolisthesis. When the vertebral body is slipped backward upon the vertebral body below, the condition is known as retrolisthesis. Spondylolisthesis may occur as a result of degenerative changes of the facet joint. When a patient has a condition known as spondylolysis, the patient is prone to develop spondylolisthesis. Spondylolysis is a condition where there is a gap in what may be considered the roof over the spinal canal. It may occur from an injury, or a person may be born with it. When this condition occurs, the facet joint is no longer able to help support the vertebral bodies from slipping forward upon each other, and instead, all of this burden is placed upon the intervertebral disc, which separates two adjacent vertebral bodies. Spondylolisthesis, whether anterolisthesis or retrolisthesis, may be related to low back pain or upper back pain, as it relates to possible instability of the spinal column.
With all of these essential functions, the facet joints are a little-known but important means to preventing low back pain and upper back pain. These joints, along with spinal discs (the shock-absorbing pads between our vertebrae) help relieve pressure on the spinal nerves during routine motion, lowering the incidence of nerve compression (and accompanying sharp low back pain). Over time, however, the facet joints begin to break down just like any other mechanical component in the human body. Repetitive bending, lifting, and twisting can all accelerate the natural degenerative processes in the human spinal column, and the facet joints are no exception. The cartilage on the ends of the joints breaks down as spinal discs become thinner, harder, and less capable of bearing shock as we grow older. All of this leads to higher incidence of compressed (pinched) spinal nerves, which in turn can cause muscle weakness, numbness, low back pain, upper back pain, and decreases in overall mobility.
As such, maintaining the health of our facet joints as we age should be a priority for everyone. Patients with chronic low back pain and upper back pain are advised to explore the option of physical therapy or chiropractic designed specifically for the spine. Typically, spine-specific physical therapy programs use a regimen of core-strengthening exercises to build muscles along the spinal column and throughout the torso. Stronger core muscles are more capable of relieving load-bearing stress on other degenerated portions of the spine, such as the discs and facet joints. Continuing physical therapy at home will also help back pain patients maintain optimal muscle mass as they age, which will in turn lower the incidence of injury, low back pain and increase overall mobility. Patients are advised to consult their physicians prior to beginning any physical therapy regimen to ensure they do not have any structural deformities that would be exacerbated by an exercise program. Imaging tests (x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) ) may be necessary to confirm this, depending on the physician’s findings during your physical exam. Standing low back x rays in flexion and extension will show whether spondylolisthesis is stable, or whether it moves.
Low back pain is one of the most common reasons for individuals to visit their doctor, and for loss of work. Finding the source of the low back pain is important, before the low back pain can be addressed, and treatment begun. Causes of low back pain include the facet joint, the spinal disc itself, the ligaments attached to the low back spinal column, the nerves leaving the spine in the low back, and the muscles which attach to, and create movement in the low back.
The Kraus Back and Neck Institute (KBNI) in Houston TX takes care of patients in Houston and the surrounding areas, including Pearland, Galleria, Beaumont, Baytown, Clear Lake, Port Arthur, Katy, the Woodlands, Spring, Memorial City, Humble, Kingwood, Conroe, Tomball, Missouri City, Texas City, and Texas Medical Center (TMC)
Patients suffering from a low back pain or neck pain, or who have been told they may require a low back surgery or neck sugery, can
contact the Kraus Back and Neck Institute at
……. Or visit www.SpineHealth.com to schedule an appointment online
Keywords: facet joint, low back pain, back pain, physical therapy, spinal column, spondylolisthesis, spinal, Houston, Pearland, Galleria, Beaumont, Baytown, Clear Lake, Port Arthur, Katy, the Woodlands, Spring, Memorial City, Humble, Kingwood, Conroe, Tomball, Missouri City, Texas City, TMC, Texas Medical Center