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Lower Back Pain Management and Prevention - Facet Joint Syndrome


I am 40 years of age and suffer from facet joint syndrome which leads to regular flare ups, including severe debilitating spasms.

I have been managing my lower back pain for 15 years, with varying degrees of success.

Preventative steps that I have taken over the years (and continue to take), at my osteopath's advice include:

Daily yoga - I have received one to one tuition with a specific focus on my issues. 
Core Work.
Foam Rolling.
Using cushioned insoles in all of my footwear.
Replacing high impact exercise with low impact exercise.
Applying an ice pack when I get up in the morning and before I go to bed to manage inflammation.
Maintaining good standing and seating posture, particularly at my desk at work.
Using a coccyx cushion when seated to remove downward pressure from my lower spine.

I'm in good shape physically, I carry no excess weight and I am a former personal trainer who specialised in rehabilitative and preventative exercise, so I am very health conscious. 

My diet is good and I drink very little.

I am starting to feel very down with regard to my back condition. I feel that I do everything that I possibly can in terms of prevention and yet I still suffer regularly.

It affects my family life, as sitting is what seems to aggravate my back most. Often I have to lie or stand rather than sit with the family. Long car journeys, without fail, lead to a flare up which then affects our trips away.

Carrying my daughter on my shoulders is a non starter and I am very conscious of saying, I can't do x, y or z because of my back. I feel that it will have a negative effect on her.

Sex is also likely to lead to a flare up and this obviously affects my relationship with my wife. At times, I am frightened by it.

When I have a flare up or feel that I am near to one, I cannot use oral NSAIDS as my stomach will no longer tolerate them which means that I have to use ice and topical ibuprofen which is far less effective in prevention or management. I also use a back support if I have a particularly bad spasm.

The reason for my post is to understand::

- if anyone has any additional advice in terms of reducing the likelihood of flare ups (supplements, treatments, exercise etc)

- there are alternatives to NSAIDS for managing the pain and reducing inflammation and spasm.

Many thanks in advance for any advice given.

Phil (Birmingham, England)



  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 7,270
    hello benno1875 !
    welcome to spine-health
    please click on link for helpful information!
    Honorary Spine-Health Moderator
    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

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