Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
Estimates suggest that anywhere between 40 and 85 percent of Americans will experience some form of lumbar facet arthritis at some point in their life. Symptoms of the condition can range from barely noticeable to majorly debilitating, but no matter your severity, treatment is important for helping to prevent the condition from worsening and making life more enjoyable. In today’s blog, we share five ways you can help treat lumbar facet joint arthritis without a surgical procedure.
Treating Lumbar Facet Arthritis Without Surgery
If you’ve been diagnosed with lumbar facet arthritis or have been dealing with pain and stiffness in your lumbar spine, consider trying a combination of these five conservative treatment options for lumbar facet arthritis.
- Posture Improvements – Poor posture oftentimes leads to excessive stress on the lower part of your spine. If you’re slouched watching television or have poor posture in your car every day, stress will be channeled to your lumbar spine. If you’re already dealing with lumbar facet arthritis, it won’t take much additional stress to trigger symptoms and discomfort. Focus on conducting regular posture checks and making adjustments if you notice that you’re slouching or hunched forward. Small changes to your posture can go a long way in alleviating symptoms caused by lumbar facet arthritis.
- Low-Impact Exercise – Exercise is a great way to strengthen spinal structures and prepare them to handle daily stress, but you need to exercise in ways that don’t overload your lumbar spine. Running can be a high impact exercise for your lower spine, so consider looking into other activities if you have low back pain caused by facet joint arthritis. Try activities like swimming, walking or an elliptical to get the benefits of exercise without the increased load on your lumbar spine.
- Physical Therapy – Take activity one step further by targeting specific areas of your spine with physical therapy. A physical therapist can show you ways to strengthen and protect your lumbar spine without risking injury. They can also give you the tools and help provide you with information about your condition so that you can manage it on your own if symptoms begin to get worse. Physical therapy can help provide you with short-term and long-term solutions to your lumbar facet joint arthritis.
- Anti-Inflammatory Medications – While anti-inflammatory medications are not a great stand-alone option, they can be a perfect complement to other activities on this list. Inflammation can make facet joint arthritis more uncomfortable, but inflammation can also be brought on by healthy activity, so anti-inflammatory medications can help make other active treatment options less uncomfortable. They won’t provide a long-term solution, but they can be a great way to help make each day less uncomfortable as you work towards long-term pain relief.
- Facet Joint Injections – Finally, Dr. Sinicropi and his team can administer a facet joint injection to provide more targeted pain and inflammation relief so that exercise and physical therapy can be performed. The effects of the injection will wear off over time, so make sure that you make the most of this period when pain is numbed. This is typically reserved for more moderate to severe cases of lumbar facet joint arthritis, and just like anti-inflammatory medications, it’s not a great long-term option. However, it can be an integral part of a comprehensive facet joint arthritis treatment plan.
For more information or for help with your lumbar facet joint arthritis, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.