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Back Shoulder Neck Pain Clinic at The Sogunro Practice St Albans

Facet Joint Syndrome

“I’ve suffered from repeated flare-ups of agonising lower back pain for the past 5 years, and I’m desperate to find a long term solution”

Facet Joint Syndrome is one of the most common causes of chronic neck and back pain. This is a compression injury caused by sudden trauma, or by sustained stress to the spine, or due to genetic pre-disposition.

One of the key points to acknowledge for recovery is that there is no quick fix with facet joint syndrome, particularly if the joint surfaces have become damaged. This is generally a chronic or persistent condition that requires a long-term approach to manage pain levels and prevent acute flare-ups.

However, the positive message we can give you if you suffer from this common condition is that finding the right combination of successful strategies can be life-changing. We have the experience and expertise to help you make that change if you are prepared to commit to a long-term programme.

Osteolates – how can we help?

We use Osteolates and Physiotherapy soft tissue treatment techniques at the initial acute pain stage to reduce compression on the facet joints to reduce pain levels, to improve circulation to reduce inflammation and accelerate healing to enable you to start the right exercises.

We may also prescribe Osteolates and Physiotherapy s treatments during the subsequent rehab exercise stage to address short tight muscles that cause painful compression of the facet joints and to get these muscles into the right condition to allow lengthening.

Osteolates and Physiotherapy soft tissue treatments may also be used from time to time, when appropriate, as part of your long-term management to help restore and maintain normal muscle tension and flexibility. These treatments aim to prevent another acute incident by controlling build-up of muscle tension that compresses the facet joints, leading to pain. Depending on the individual, treatments at this stage may vary from a regular 6 weekly appointment to keep on top of a recurring issue that builds up as a result of the demands of your job, or as a one-off if signs of recurring muscular issues are noted during your weekly exercise sessions.

Applied Pilates – how can we help?

The most common cause of facet joint syndrome is weak stability muscles that are failing to control movement of your spine. We use condition-specific Applied Pilates exercises for the long-term management of postural issues that aggravate facet joint syndrome. Applying the right exercises will strengthen your postural muscles, improve flexibility of tight muscles, return balance to muscles on each side of your spine to reduce postural extremes, and so reduce the compression of your facet joints. It should be noted that once established, your weekly exercise routine is likely to be a long-term commitment in order to manage your condition.

it is essential that only clinically appropriate exercises are applied, therefore it’s important to make sure you attend a form of clinical pilates, such as Applied Pilates. Any generic pilates routine, or classical pilates, or fitness pilates (whether mat based or reformer based) is inappropriate as a tool for recovery from facet joint syndrome because more than a third of the standard exercise routine will aggravate or even increase your injury. At the Sogunro Practice we use only Applied Pilates exercises that have been clinically tried and tested for the management of facet joint syndrome.

For more information to help you find the right type of pilates, take a look at these articles in our Advice section.

Other advice we provide for you

We can help you to understand what has caused your facet joint syndrome, for example sudden trauma to your spine (eg a whiplash injury), or sustained stress to the spine (eg repeated poor posture during specific activities). Further, we can advise you on how to manage your condition long-term to control pain levels and prevent recurrence of acute flare-ups.

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