Low Back Pain - Disc vs Facet Joint

Somatic referred pain is the most common type of pain resulting from spinal structures. Somatic pain is characterised as deep, vague, diffuse pain. This pain can occur in the leg or hip area, but is most prominent in the lower back as it is located closer to the origin of the pain. This sort of pain can arise from the disc or facet joint. 

 
Discs   sit between the vertebral bodies and act as shock absorbers.   Facet joints   are the joints in the spine where movement occurs. 

Discs sit between the vertebral bodies and act as shock absorbers.
Facet joints are the joints in the spine where movement occurs. 

Signs of Disc Pain

·      Pain located in the midline.

·      Pain may extend to both sides of the back and down the buttocks as well as the legs.

·      Pain aggravated by bending forwards, heavy lifting, sitting for extended periods, sit to stand and coughing/sneezing.

Signs of Facet Joint Pain

·      Pain usually experienced on one side of the back but can be both.

·      Pain likely isolated to a specific joint.

·      Pain aggravated by bending to the side, bending backwards and getting out of a chair.

Physiotherapy Treatment:
There isn’t one treatment option to solve all low back issues. Instead, an integrated approach monitoring the effectiveness of several different treatment techniques is employed. Only then will the most appropriate treatment technique be determined for that individual. Correcting the predisposing factors that cause low back pain is the most critical component of treatment. Subsequently, symptoms may be alleviated and the risk of recurrence minimised. Mobilisation and manipulation may aid in increasing movement of hypomobile intervertebral segments and thus reducing pain. Soft tissue massage can further reduce pain by eliminating abnormal areas of muscles tissue and restoring normal function. Exercise therapy such as stretching and range of motion activities can assist in maintaining range.