Lumbar arthritis or lumbar arthritis of facet joints or lumbar facet arthritis is one of the common forms of arthritis of spine.
What are vertebrae?
The human spine is made up of 24 spinal bones, called vertebrae. Vertebrae are stacked on top of one another to create the spinal column. The spinal column gives the body its form. It is the body’s main upright support.
What are facet joints?
Each segment in the spine has three main points of movement, the intervertebral disc and the two facet joints. Injury or problems in any one of these structures affects the other two. As a disc thins with aging and from daily wear and tear, the space between two spinal vertebrae shrinks. This causes the facet joints to press together.
What causes lumbar facet arthritis?
Normally, the facet joints fit together snugly and glide smoothly, without pressure. If pressure builds where the joint meets, the cartilage on the joint surfaces wears off, or erodes. Facet joints can also become arthritic due to a back injury earlier in life. Fractures, torn ligaments and disc problems can all cause abnormal movement and alignment, putting extra stress on the surfaces of the facet joints.
What are the symptoms?
The most obvious symptom is pain. Pain from facet joint arthritis is usually worse after resting or sleeping. Also, bending the trunk sideways or backward usually produces pain on the same side as the arthritic facet joint. Pain may be felt in the center of the low back and can spread into one or both buttocks. Sometimes the pain spreads into the thighs, but it rarely goes below the knee.
How is lumbar arthritis diagnosed?
Diagnosis begins with a complete history and physical examination. Your doctor will ask questions about your symptoms and how your problem is affecting your daily activities. Then the doctor performs a physical exam to determine which back movements cause pain or other symptoms. Your skin sensation, muscle strength, and reflexes are also tested. X-rays can show if there are problems in the bone tissue in and near the facet joints. CT scan and MRI can also be used if needed.
How is lumbar facet joint arthritis treated?
Facet joint arthritis is mainly treated non-surgically. At first, doctors may prescribe a short period of rest, one to two days at most, to calm inflammation and pain. Patients may find added relief by curling up to sleep on a firm mattress or by lying back with their knees bent and supported. These positions take pressure off the facet joints.
With more awareness about herbal therapy options, more and more people are now turning towards herbal therapy of arthritis of spine. With proper herbal therapy such Provailen to minimize stiffness and pain, and daily exercises to maintain optimum mobility, strength and good posture, most people with lumbar facet arthritis can live productive lives and remain fully active.