Hey guys and welcome back. This is the second part of our blog on back pain – if you haven’t read part one yet no dramas but make sure you do though….its good (that’s just my opinion!!) as a special treat and a thank you for coming back for the second instalment at the end of this blog you can download our FREE yes FREE report – “5 Tips to End your Back Pain without having to take painkillers or see your GP”
Just to recap, in part one we discovered that back pain is really common – affecting 25 million people daily causing 31 million working days to be lost annually! – big numbers! So you are not alone. We also discussed the first of the 3 main causes (broadly speaking) of low back pain and the different treatment options. We also touched on why an MRI may not be required and why it can sometimes be more of a hindrance than a help.
OK so lets jump straight in…..
Main cause number 2 - Facet Joint issues.
“What’s a facet joint?” I hear you ask – well, this is the joint between each vertebrae (spinal bone) and the one above and below it. You have one joint on the left and on one the right between each level – see below
These joints are really important – they each move a little bit to allow us to bend forwards and backwards as well as side to side. Sometimes one of these joints can get a bit stiff, or a bit worn. This will affect how you move and can lead to pain. – a bit like the tracking on your car – if a tyre wears unevenly it effects the steering. It can and does lead to inflammation at the joint as you can see from the picture above the nerve (that’s the yellow worm like thing!) passes very close to the joint (directly behind it in fact). Inflammation is to nerve tissue what screaming kids are to a hangover…..basically they should never be mixed!
Essentially similar to how we treat disc problems – we want to minimize you pain, correct the issue or dysfunction and prevent from re occurrence. Personally I like treating people so if you come to see me I will use hands on manual therapy in conjunction with exercises to restore your movement and minimize pain. As previously mentioned IDD therapy is also an excellent treatment choice to help achieve this. Then we need to address any underlying issues that may have contributed to the problem in the first place.
I also believe prevention is better than cure, what do I mean by this? – well basically there are things that you can do to stop you ever having back pain in the first place – the number 1 risk factor in experiencing back pain….is having previously had back pain. unfortunately, though as human beings we are predictably irrational and refuse to “act” until we are in pain…but that is another blog all on its own!!
Cause Number 3 …. Sternosis!
No this is not a case of your back being very strict and stern! (sorry bad dad joke!) so stenosis is a posh medical word that essentially means getting narrower or blocking a gap! When we talk about this regarding the spine there are 2 types central or foraminal. More medical terms – sorry – so central stenosis is when the main spinal canal – the bit where we find our spinal cord – gets narrower and causes issues, this is quite rare … which is good because, it is well; shall we say difficult to treat!
Foraminal stenosis is more common and is when the hole where the nerve exits the spine the foramina (posh medical word meaning hole!) becomes narrower – this can cause inflammation – and as we already know nerves and inflammation aren’t buddies – think of them as Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger ( you will need to be a football fan to get that!) .
What causes the narrowing you ask? Well; bone mostly! It is essentially another wearing down degenerative type of thing.