Lumbar Facet Syndrome

Pain felt in the neck or back area is probably one of the most common reasons for patients to visit their doctors. In this discussion we’ll go through some lumbar related conditions with multiple causes. Depending on the cause, pain in the lumbar area may also be accompanied by neurological symptoms. If the root of the nerve is affected, pain can spread distantly into other areas, where strength, sensation and reflexes can be disturbed. Lumbar facet is particularly sensitive towards these type of strains and it can typically lead towards loss of digesting functions as well as bladder disturbances. Any painful disturbance in the spinal area may also cause reflex contraction (spasm) of the vertebral muscles which can be a truly excruciating and painful experience.

Common causes of lumbar facet syndrome

In cases of mechanical disorders of the spine which lead towards lumbar face pain it’s usually caused by muscle stretching, spasm or a combination. In about 15% it’s related towards anatomical changes which usually cause symptoms such as disk hernia, compressive fracture, osteoarthritis and similar. If it’s a case of some different mechanical disorders, there are no specific alterations of the physique to be noted. Sensation of pain is common with people who aren’t usually feeling pain in the lumbar area, but since there are so many factors playing a role here it’s difficult to determine the exact cause of the condition.

Anamnesis

Current anamnesis needs to contain data related to beginning period when the pain initiated, its location, spreading and other factors. Important following symptoms are stiffness, retention of urine and incontinence. Taking a look at other organic systems is a recommended practice and this is done to determine symptoms that may indicate a cause such as fever or infections, weight loss, depression, anorexia, coughs etc. Early anamnesis needs to contain data related to already known disturbances of the lumbar area such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, disk hernia, recent or old injuries as well as any surgeries that the patient was going through.

Treatment

Acute muscle/bone pain can be dealt with painkillers, warm/cold cloth treatment as well as mobilization of the lumbar after which stabilization exercises are to follow. Acute muscle spasms can be relieved by warming/cooling cycles. During first couple of days after treatment cooling the area is to be expected in sessions of about 20 minutes where ice wrapped in cloth is applied to the lumbar. There are also medications such as cyclobenzaprine which are used as muscle relaxing medications. Positive effects of this type of medications need to be measured against their negative effect particularly if the patient is over 50 years of age. Manual manipulation of the spine may help in decreasing the intensity of pain being caused by muscle spasm during acute injury of the neck. If depression tends to follow this condition for more than a couple of months, a psychiatric treatment is obligatory as it also has a huge impact on this condition’s progress.