What is a Facet Joint Injury?
The back is one of the most physiologically complex areas of the body and it does suffer from injuries from time to time. Common back pain complaints can be attributed to facet joint injuries. Facet joints (zygopophoseal joints) are found at the back of the spinal column and they are present along the sides of each vertebrate. The role of these joints is to provide physical stability to the spine by controlling and limiting specific movements such as rotations and extensions. However, there are situations when these facet joints can become damaged. Some of the most common causes of facet joints becoming damaged include: a sudden and sharp blow, vehicle accidents and vertebral locks. Any joint that becomes stiff and locked will become “sick” or degenenerated and arthritic due to lack of oxygen and nutrient delivery.
Furthermore, it is just as easy to develop this condition through repeated, repetitive movements such as lifting boxes, climbing up ladders or even squatting with heavy weights at the gym. A motor control error is often-times responsible when all the complex muscle moves are just a little bit uncoordinated due to faulty neurlogy resulting from spinal locks and neuromuscular weakness. In any of these situations, an injury to one or more facet joints will cause the nearby muscles to spasm as an automatic protective mechanism. This normally causes a significant amount of pain and discomfort. The length of time required for this pain to subside will depend upon the severity of your injury as well as any professional help that is subsequently obtained.
Treating a Facet Joint Sprain
If you have recently suffered from a facet joint sprain, the good news is that the majority of interventions will not require any type of surgery. Dr Adam Rocchi will instead recommend a series of treatment visits. This is performed in order to ease the muscle spasms that are present. The major muscle responsible for this is the mutifidus which is deep within the spine and difficult to access without instrumentation. A reduction in pain is generally felt within a short period of time, although the area will still remain tender for a number of days.
Your chiropractor will also focus upon exercises to strengthen the back as well as what movements should be eliminated in order to avoid a recurring injury. Other passive suggestions such proper posture or proactively applying heat for short amount of times during the day may also be recommended. Of course, this advice is ultimately based around your unique situation.
Outcomes and Average Recovery Times
The average recovery time associated with a facet joint injury can range from between two and three weeks. Neuromuscular dysfunction within the area will need to be carefully found and corrected through Trigenic treatment system and the Spine Scan instrumentation. If cared for properly, you can also dramatically reduce the chances of suffering from a similar injury in the future. Early intervention is the best way to avoid long recovery periods. If you would like to learn more about this condition or should you suspect that you have developed a facet joint injury, do not hesitate to contact Spine Scan Chiropractic.