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Chiropractic Help, Issue #13 - Lumbar Facet Syndrome
March 11, 2010


Three joints complex ... One DISC and TWO facets joints.

There's been a lot of research lately about the benefits of chiropractic over drugs and surgery for low back pain. In fact, if you FIRST consult a chiropractor for low back pain, you are less likely to end up under the knife than if you first consult a medical doctor. Another added benefit is that your Chiropractor will most likely to be able to help you with that nagging shoulder pain, pain in the groin, ankle joint pain... that's been bothering for years.

The lumbar facet syndrome often starts after a hyper-extension injury.


The spine is really just a very tall column that gives structure to the whole body. Attached to it are the limbs, all the organs and, of course, it has a very heavy weight placed precariously at the top. Your skull!

To prevent the spine from toppling over, or buckling and twisting too much, each spinal bone (called a vertebra) has two boney plates (the FACETS) that extend backwards from the spine, and interlock in an ingenious manner with its neighbours above and below... but, they can cause hideous pain too.

Can it also cause LEG PAIN? Lower back and leg pain ...

Lower back and leg pain requires first and foremost a careful examination in order to determine precisely where the nerve is being irritated. Is it in the upper lumbar spine? The lower lumbar spine? Which level exactly? A Lumbar Facet syndrome? The sacro-iliac joint? In the groin? Could it be something more serious, possibly from the prostate gland?

A leg length inequality (short leg) is the main cause of a scoliosis, or curvature of the spine. Then the facets do not equally share the weight of the body, one facet taking far more strain that his twin on the opposite side.

Also individuals with LLI have to modify their movement patterns to functionally minimize the inequality. For example you may have to bend slightly to the side when bending, or walk in a slightly awkward manner, increasing knee flexion or hip adduction of the longer limb. These compensatory mechanisms may amplify forces due to less joint contact area, thus acting as a precursor to arthritis in the spine and leg.

SPONDYLOLYSTHESIS ... What is it? >>

Perhaps you've been told that you have a fracture between the facets, and there is nothing to be done about it. Learn to live with the pain.

This can and does happen, usually an early childhood fall, but mostly the low back pain is not coming from the spondylolysthesis but from one of the joints above or below that have had to adapt their way of moving. The spondylolysthesis is often, though not always, an incidental finding, and not the cause of the pain.

Are there exercises you could do? Chiropractic Tips ...

Yes, indeed, though here a caution. There are no exercises pertinent to every condition, and if you do them incorrectly ... How do I know? I teach every single low back pain patient these exercises and whilst some people get them right the first time, for many I have to go through them again, and again, and... you get it. Do yourself a favour and ask your chiropractor's advice.

I do them EVERY SINGLE MORNING. Why? I have a short leg that regularly used to cause me a lumbar facet syndrome. Now I do them every day, have my chiropractic adjustment every month or two from a colleague - and rarely have trouble. They only take one and half minutes.

"I came across your website while doing some research on herniated discs and just wanted to compliment you on your fantastic informative website.

My knowledge on spinal issues is not at a level I would like, and I learned new ideas and thoughts on the subjsct when reading through your pages, and all put in a simple easy to read format.

Your site is a brilliant reference site for all medical practitioners. Keep up the good work."

Always nice to get a compliment! Costs nothing. Have you made someone's day today? Do it.

Interesting facts about STRAWBERRIES - a wonder food.

Spring is in the air in the northern hemisphere. That means delicious strawberries with their proven cancer, arthritis, blindness and heart disease prevention properties! What more do you want?! Pig out! But no sugar remember, and watch the cream! Perhaps a dab of icecream!

An odd topic for a Chiropractic website. Indeed. But I was reminded recently during the first thaw that it was whilst watching the way snow melts, or rather doesn't melt, when hiking in the Drakensberg mountains that I felt strangely drawn for the first time to the then Unknown God...

Until next month then. Promise not to fill your Inbox with information overload.

Should you have found this email helpful, feel free to forward to family and friends. Your doctor?! Our readership is rising in leaps and bounds, but for the considerable work put in, I would prefer it to go to 50 000 people!

Yours in Better Health. Read a book today, preferably one of Bernard Prestons!, take a walk and let the sunbeams awaken your pineal gland. That's the one that floods the body with feel-good-hormones. It needs sunshine. Oh, do wear a hat and take an apple!

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