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Facet joint pain

BeachgirlBBeachgirl Posts: 9
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:59 AM in Lower Back Pain
Can someone explain what the symptoms of facet pain feel like? I am having back pain with sitting...like I can not fully load my spine. MRI shows moderate facet hyper trophy in lumbar. The pain also refers down into sacrum and whole lower left feels in spasm. Thx


  • Welcome to spine health! Sorry for your pain.

    I too have moderate facet hypertrophy from L3-S1. I also have problems with my discs so not sure which pain is from the disc and which from the facets.

    Do you have any other issues besides facet...such as disc issues? I have alot of pain in lower back, mostly in my butt/hips but also down my leg with numbness and weakness. Sitting is the worst, I don't really sit at all, just lie/lean on hip.

    Have you tried anything to help yet, such as physiotherapy, facet injections etc?

    Wishing you all the best!Look forward to hearing more from you.

    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
  • Welcome to Spine-Health.

    I had stenosis, facet hypertrophy and spondylolisthesis at L4/5 before my surgery, and sitting was the only comfortable position I could find. Standing and walking was unbearable for more than a few minutes and I could get some instant relief from bending forward, but again, sitting was best.

    This is my experience only and I know that everyone experiences their pain differently.

  • I had facet injection three days ago and in more pain. It refers down into sacrum. I am also post op si fusion eight months. New MRI shows same stuff.. Main thing is disc desiccation, protrusion that mildly indents thecal sac , and annular tear at l4/5. Before my si surgery I was unable to walk much or bear weight...but docs didn't believe disc was causing any of that. I beat the disc thing to death. Now after si surgery my lumbar pain is worse in that it is constant and referring into sacrum. Can facets really cause this much nerve pain.. I am starting to wonder if some of this is disc. I am now working with a physiatrist on spine. Before surgery i had no trouble sitting.. Now it is impossible. Thx for help!
  • Hi Beachgirl:
    As others have said & many of us have experienced, sometimes it's hard to determine the source of the pain. I don't believe you've explained completely how you got to an SI joint fusion - other than you weren't able to walk much or bear weight. Did you have PT or chiro b4 the surgery? Another issue you don't want to discount - annular tear at l4/5. That in itself could easily be the source of the low back pain under load. Couple other questions you may/may not want to answer:
    1. have you thought of an epidural steroid injection @ l4/5?
    2. do you have children? many SI issues caused by women bearing children.

    Forgot to explain what facet joints are (if you're not aware). There are 2 pairs of them at each vertebral level, and act to prevent the spine from extending too far backwards. So when you bend forward (flexion) your facets should open (very slightly). When you bend backwards (extension) your facets will close. If your pain is exacerbated when you bend backwards, you may have facet issues.
    Make sense?
  • I have severe facet hypertrophy between L3-L5 along with spondilolythesis and degenerative disc disease. This happened to me because I was born without a pedicle on the right side, for the most part. I was having neuropathy down my legs, tingling and numbness. It felt like a very deep ache in my lower back and sometimes a stabbing pain. I had to get fused between LS-L5 and needed it redone less than a year after because the titanium hardware had broken(one of the pedicle screws broke into the bone). Facet epidural injections never worked for me, I had about 6 in total, and I'm 26 now. I was about 23 when I first got those done. If anything they aggravated my back for awhile and caused me more pain. But everyone has a different experience. I hope you get some relief from your pain. I'm still healing from my 2nd fusion. Good luck :-)
  • Take 1500 mg. glucosamine sulfate daily. Be faithful and you'll probably see a difference in a couple of months. It's about the only thing that's worked for me.
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