By Sydney CBD Osteopath Dr Abbey Davidson
What is a Facet Sprain?
The spine is made up of many synovial or moving joints, 139 to be exact! 48 of these joints are known as zygapophyseal or facet joints. Just like an ankle or any other moving joint in your body, these facet joints can be sprained. Facet sprains usually caused by a trauma such as a tackle or fall, or from doing some unaccustomed activity like moving house or exercise.
Signs & symptoms of a Facet Sprain:
- Sudden onset of band-like or pin point back/neck pain during or the morning after activity
- Pain usually focused on one side of the spine
- Surrounding muscle spasm or tightness
- Reduced spinal range of motion
- Pain aggravated by bending backwards, twisting motions and lifting
What can I do to help myself if I have a Facet Sprain?
If you are experiencing the symptoms above, we recommend applying ice to the affected area for the first 24-48 hours’ after the pain starts to decrease the amount of inflammation and swelling in the area. It is recommended that you apply ice for 20 minutes every hour, and that you place a towel in between your skin and the towel to avoid direct contact. Heat packs are then recommended after this period of time, as the application of heat encourages blood flow to the affected area, which promotes repair and relaxation of muscles.
Performing gentle lower back range of motion exercises within pain limits is also encouraged to help prevent loss of range of motion in your back and to decrease stiffness in the area. It is also important to avoid activities which aggravate pain, such as heavy lifting or sudden bending movements where possible.
Bed rest is not recommended for this injury.
For more information on Facet Join Sprains, watch the video below by Sydney CBD Osteopath Dr Abbey Davidson, or click here.
When should I see a health professional for a Facet Sprain?
It’s time to see a health professional if your pain does not improve after 1-2 weeks, if your sleep quality is greatly impacted, or if you are having any pins, needles, tingles or nerve pain.
What will a Health Professional do if I am suffering from a Facet Sprain?
If your pain has persisted and has not improved after 1-2 weeks, your sleep quality is greatly impacted, or you are experiencing any pins, needles, tingles or nerve pain, we suggest booking an appointment to see a health professional such as a physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor.
A health professional will look into the history of your injury, and assess the affected area, testing for range of motion, any restrictions or muscle tension, so as to establish if it is indeed the facet causing your pain.
Your health professional will use a range of manual therapies and techniques to help decrease your pain, increase your range of motion and decompress the area.
At the end of your appointment, your health professional will reassess your facet sprain and see if there has been any changes or improvements from your treatment, and may give you some exercises and stretches to use at home to continue your progress until your next appointment.
For more information on conditions of the Neck, click on the following conditions:
- Neck Pain
- Neck Pain due to Poor Posture
- Cervical Osteoarthritis (Neck Arthritis)
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Cervical Radiculopathy (Pinched Nerve)