The lumbar facet is a condition that is characterized by a sharp pain in the lower back and hip region. Although the condition can be treated surgically, nonsurgical treatment options are usually the first step one should take. Nonsurgical methods have been tested and proven to have a higher success rate compared to medical procedures. Sometimes the pain cannot be eliminated but managing the condition will allow you to live your life normally. When not treated early the condition can cause irritation and severe pain in the posterior part of the lower spine. As the nerve roots in that region weaken, the tissues, including muscles get damaged and the person loses mobility.
The facet joints are the most affected by that condition due to their proximity to the lower spine. Degenerating cartilage causes the tissues in the region to get inflamed and movement becomes very painful. Lumbar facet joint pain is can result from an accident or that causes dislocation of the lower spine. Additionally, people with conditions such as anterior, posterior, or lateral pelvic tilt are at risk of developing the condition.
Fixing Lumbar Facet Joint Pain
It is important to note that you can combine a range of treatment options to fix lumbar facet joint pain. Here are some proven ways to treat the condition or manage it at least.
Strength exercises do not only help you keep fit but they also help manage existing conditions, lumbar facet joint paint included.
Aerobic Exercises – Lumbar Facet Joint
Low-intensity aerobic exercises such as walking and running have been found to relieve the lumbar facet joint pain significantly. That is because the exercises improve blood flow to the lower back region gradually. Additionally, such kinds of exercises help reduce stiffness in the side region by flexing the muscles.
The result is more nutrients reach the spinal structures, including the lumbar facet, thus replacing the degenerated tissues and initiate recovery. Aerobic exercises don’t have to be rigorous; all you need is a one-mile walk to the supermarket. You can also take a slow run in the park, alone or in the company of a friend. It may seem hard at first, but your body will get used to it as the days go by. Most importantly, you must be consistent about it lest you lose the gains you’ve made in the initial days by the time you give up.
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Child’s Pose Yoga
This form of yoga is neither hard nor easy, but the benefits that come with it are worth everything. As the name suggests, you have to assume a child’s pose, which is not easy for someone whose body stiffer. The exercise helps relieve the stress and fatigue in the facet joint by improving blood flow to the region. Here is how to perform the child’s pose yoga exercise.
- Get on all fours and support yourself with your elbows.
- Shut everything else out of your mind and concentrate on your breath and self-awareness.
- Stretch out your knees and widen the distance between them until you feel the tension at the hip joint.
- Push your hips back and down until your buttocks touch your heels.
- Stretch your hands in front, palms on the floor, and move your body downwards until you feel the tension on your back. Let your torso rest on your thighs and your head resting on the floor.
- Take an exhale and remain in that position for 3 minutes. While at it, relax your back and allow the tension on your shoulders to go away gradually.
- Walk your hands towards your body slowly until you’re in the initial all-fours position.
- Sit back on your heels and plant your palms on your thighs to reduce the pressure on your heels. Open your mind and collect your thoughts for some seconds.
- Come out by walking your hands back to the all-fours position.
Repeat this routine three times a week and make sure to go for 5 to 10 rounds. That is roughly 45 minutes of your time every day, but the gains will be incredible.
Hang-Up Bar Stretches
Another effective lumbar facet joint pain fix, bar hang-up exercise relieves the tension in the lower back region. The exercise works by decompressing the spine and allowing easy flow of nutrients to the spinal tissues. One can perform this kind of exercise at home or the gym as long as you can find a pull-up bar or its equivalent. Do the following with a pull-up bar to get rid of that nasty pain.
- Locate a bar that is high enough. Alternatively, you can put a bar between two hooks.
- Jump to grab the bar and hang on freely.
- Raise your body until the bar is at chest level. Remain in that position for as long as you can and only free yourself when the tension intensifies.
- Lower yourself slowly but don’t come off the bar. Hang on freely and let your body’s weight stretch your spine.
- Take a deep breath and go again.
- Do as many rounds as you can.
Motor Control Exercise
Motor control exercises help people with lumbar facet joint pain with transversus abdominus, which is contracts muscles at the core. Lower back muscles are the main stabilizers of the human body and their weakening means a complete loss of mobility or the person experiences extreme pain while doing so. This is how one can perform motor control exercises to overcome lower back and lumbar facet joint pain.
- Stand upright with your hands on your sides.
- Straighten your back and raise your chin.
- Take a deep breath as you squeeze your stomach in and up without moving the ribcage.
- Gradually build up the level of contraction until you feel the tension.
- Rest for one minute or so and go again; this time increasing the contraction and remaining in the position longer.
- Keep doing the contraction for 5 or more rounds.
Pelvic Tilt Exercise for Lumbar Facet Joint
This exercise extends the person’s lower back and strengthens the muscles around that region. Additionally, it strengthens the stomach muscles which play an important role in ensuring the stability of the core. The floor is the best way to perform this exercise because your body, specifically the spine, will not be overcoming any gravity. You can also perform it outdoors on flat ground with enough cushion. Here is how to go about it:
- Lie down on your back with your hands on the sides.
- Fold your legs at the knee such that your feet are planted on the floor.
- Drift your knees apart until you feel the tension at the hip joint.
- Keeping your back on the floor, pull your abdomen inwards and roll your hips up.
- Take a deep breath and remain in the position for a minute or so.
- Slowly relax your body and let the tension melt away.
- Take a one-minute rest and go again.
- Repeat it 5 to 10 more rounds.
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More Ways to Fix Lumbar Facet Joint Pain
There is no specific way of managing this condition but a combination of exercises and other home remedies will always give the desired results. These additional strategies will come a long way in ensuring that nasty pain does not turn your life upside down.
- A Good Rest – having enough rest through sleep or merely lying down gives the facet joints time to relax and recover from any form of inflammation.
- Practice Good Posture – poor posture is one of the causes of lumbar facet joint pains. It is even worse if you remain in that position for long hours because eventually, you will make it a habit you can’t get rid of. Always ensure your spine is upright when sitting down or standing. Additionally, lie down in a position that makes your back straight.
- Regular Physical Exercises – make strength and physical exercises your daily routine. Don’t wait until it’s too late to start those exercises. These exercises are more of a preventive than a treatment measure, so make them part of your routine.
- Use Ice – rubbing the affected area with ice will relieve the pain significantly, though short-term. The ice will reduce inflammation significantly if it’s applied at intervals of 15 to 20 minutes.
- See a Doctor – this should be your last option if you feel that the pain is worsening despite you trying to manage it using nonmedical methods. The doctor will normally prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to help with the pain.
Lumbar facet joint pain, unlike other spine-related conditions, can be a major problem if it is not managed early enough. The condition does not only cause excruciating pain but can also lead to the destruction of the cartilage tissue in the affected area. Luckily, its adverse effects can be avoided by doing targeted light exercises regularly. It is also important to note that overdoing these exercises may worsen the pain, so you need to know when to stop doing a certain exercise or set of exercises.