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Low back pain: Lumbar Facets

| | Back (Spine)

Low back pain can erode the quality of one’s life, spiritual and physical wellbeing.  At the Centeno-Schultz Clinic, we acknowledge that there many sources of low back pain which include muscle dysfunction, ligament laxity, lumbar degenerative disc disease (DDD) and lumbar facet injury.

The facet joint is located in the posterior aspect of the spine.  It is lined with cartilage and allows for smooth non-painful motion of the back.  Injury to the joint and cartilage results in pain.

Treatment options start with an accurate diagnosis. At the Centeno-Schultz Clinic we perform both diagnostic injections to confirm the diagnosis of lumbar facet injury and well as definite therapy in the form of radiofrequency.

FZ is 55y/o athletic patient with a 25-year history of low back pain which was constant in duration, 6/10 in severity, progressive in nature without radiations.  He had undergone conservative therapy in the form of PT, massage, chiropractic care, and a trial of NSAID and muscle relaxants.  Physical examination was significant for back pain on extension and lateral rotation.

The patient underwent x-ray guided injection of local anesthetic into the joint(intra-articular joint injection) which completely eliminated his pain for several days.  He subsequently had the nerves which provide sensation to the lumbar facet joint burned (radiofrequency).  Below are the x-ray pictures of the radiofrequency needles.  Thermal energy is conducted to the end of the needle which cauterized the targeted nerve thereby stopping the pain signal arising from the joint from traveling to the brain.

FZ returned to the clinic today and reports 80% improvement in his low back pain which has enabled him to get back on the ice and follow his passion.

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