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Facet Joint Osteoarthritis

What is Facet Joint Osteoarthritis and how to treat it?

Facet Joint Osteoarthritis is also referred to as degenerative arthritis, it is a condition that causes the breakdown of cartilage between your facet joints.

Who is prone to Osteoarthritis?

Generally, Facet Joint Osteoarthritis becomes more common with age, meaning the older you get, the more likely you are to develop the condition. With Facet Joint Osteoarthritis, patients usually notice two main processes of the condition, which we’ll discuss below.

The first, is a breakdown of the cartilage in the patients facet joints. These are the bits in your spine which link the vertebrae together. The second, is the development of abnormal bony growths. These growths are referred to as osteophytes or bone spurs and they develop on the vertebrae.

What are the symptoms of Facet Joint Osteoarthritis?

Facet Joint Osteoarthritis is a degenerative process, and for most people who suffer from it, it can cause intense pain, aching, stiffness and decreased mobility. The reason for the pain is the lack of cartilage, as the joints and vertebrae aren’t protected anymore. The process itself (highlighted above) may take years to occur, and many people notice their symptoms on a small scale, or in tandem with other spinal issues.

How can you stop the pain?

Most people consider non-surgical treatments to be the most effective when dealing with Facet Joint Osteoarthritis. Treatments that focus on restoring movement and motion, and relieving pressure and pain tend to be the most life-changing for those who suffer from Facet Joint Osteoarthritis.

Treatments that work for Osteoarthritis below: 

Chiropractic sessions: Manipulation of the muscles and gentle stretching can help relieve pressure and pain and realign your body to ensure weight is distributed properly.

Stretching exercises: Focussing on the leg muscles (hamstring and quads) as well as the hip joints, can help strengthen the back. It can also help build flexibility and mobility, which can ease a lot of the pain associated with Osteoarthritis.

Water therapy: This can be a useful form of therapy for Osteoarthritis as it allows the patient to be ‘weightless’ which often means movements and motion causes less pressure and less pain. During water therapy you may practise a range of motion and movements, that would ordinarily be too painful.

Acupuncture: Medical Acupuncture can help encourage the body to release important healing and restorative chemicals, which can help with pain relief and healing.

Sports Massage: Sports Massage is a key treatment to relaxing muscle and joint pain, and keeping joints nimble and flexible too. Regular sports massages can help aid in pain relief and pain management.

How does Good Breathing Prevent Muscle Pain?

How does Good Breathing Prevent Muscle Pain?

Muscle pain, whether it be from an injury or as part of a chronic condition, can be a debilitating condition to live with every day. For many people, small movements and simple tasks such as walking can be easily taken for granted. However, for those suffering with constant muscle pain, the smallest tasks can often be the most difficult.

If you’re suffering with regular muscle pain, you’ll have likely sought out many different ways to cope with the pain. For those with more mild cases of muscle pain, certain creams or heat patches may provide the much needed relief. However, for people with more intense pain, it’s likely you’ll be combining a few different methods to ease the pain.

One method of pain relief, is actually (and surprisingly) breathing correctly. Breathing, when it is controlled and considered, can aid your body into lowering pain levels, and can help you focus on getting through the pain too.

Diaphragmatic breathing 

When we talk about breathing ‘correctly’ we’re talking about using your diaphragm. This method of breathing tends to allow us to breathe more deeply, and is different to ‘normal’ breathing because it expands out stomach, instead of our ribcage. 

This kind of deep breathing is considered healthier, and also allows our bodies to better digest the oxygen in the air. But how does this help with muscle pain and chronic pain?

Reason 1: It helps to relax the muscles. 

Breathing deeply helps to relax your muscles. You’ll feel it as you take deep breaths, that your muscles naturally relax. 

Reason 2: Distraction strategy

Deep breathing is a fantastic distraction from pain. If you breath deeply whilst counting (for example) you’ll notice your brain focussing more on the numbers and counting than on the pain itself. 

Reason 3: Reverses physical symptoms 

There are many physical symptoms of pain, and one of the main ones is anxiety. The quickening of breath, clenching of fists (etc) are all things our body does when it senses pain or danger. By breathing deeply, we’re relaxing our body and telling it not to panic. So we’re reversing those physical symptoms of pain and anxiety. 

Reason 4: It increases our oxygen supply 

We all know that oxygen is what gives us life and energy. Oxygen is perhaps the most important thing we intake and we do it through breathing. The better our breathing techniques are, and the deeper our breaths, the more oxygen we’re taking in. The more oxygen our body has, the better it can function. 

Chiropractic and eye health

Chiropractic care, despite being around for many many years, is often still met with scepticism from people who don’t know enough about it, or don’t understand the benefits. There are over 3,000 registered chiropractors in the UK, which shows evidence that this field of care is effective and popular amongst the British public.

But if you’re still feeling a little sceptical about chiropractic care, we thought we would address some of the common misconceptions people often have.

Misconception #1 – It’s bad for your eye health

A recent medical study found that high-velocity neck manipulation (like the kind some people may experience during their chiropractic sessions) has sometimes been associated with eye pain. A case emerged in the USA which led the American Heart Association to issue a warning statement in 2014.

In short, the rapid movements of neck manipulation has been shown to result in stress on the eye and lead to spotty vision. However, this is only in rare circumstances and because of the focus on the neck, shouldn’t be a problem if your treatments are focussed on your back, lower back or legs. The risk is rare, extremely uncommon, but it’s something you should discuss with your practitioner if you’re worried.

Misconception #2 – You have to be referred by a doctor

This is untrue. Because chiropractors work independently and are classed as ‘independent practitioners’ you don’t need to be referred by any medical facility. If you feel like a chiropractor could help any ailments you’re experiencing, you can contact them independently. Many people choose to do this if they don’t want to wait for a referral (which can often take months).

Misconception #3 – They’re not as qualified as doctors

You are right, chiropractors are not trained as doctors, and it’s important to remember this. They can’t technically diagnose you with anything, however they are trained specialists in their field, and so they know your back and spine very well. Many chiropractors will have years of training in their field, as well as many years treating the back and spine – and various different problems and conditions – they are truly experts in their field.

Misconception #4 – It’s painful

Many people who haven’t experienced chiropractic care believe that it is almost like a ‘rough’ massage, with tossing, clicking and manipulating of the body in extreme movements. This isn’t the case, and actually, adjustments to your spine and joints generally shouldn’t hurt. Chiropractors and chiropractic care can actually be a very gentle treatment, and many people find it quite relaxing.

Misconception #5 – You have to have repeat appointments

You’ll be under no obligation to have repeat appointments with your chiropractor, and many people can experience vast improvements to their discomfort or pain after just one session. You chiropractor will likely recommend a number of sessions to you, judged from the time they think will be needed.

How chiropractic care can help with leg pain

If you’ve been suffering with leg pain, whether it’s rooted in muscle discomfort, joint problems or even a trapped nerve – looking for a solution is likely you biggest priority. Living with leg pain is difficult and make even the smallest tasks (such as walking to the shops) painful and uncomfortable.

For many people seeking a solution and relief from the pain quickly, they may turn to seeking help from independent practitioners, but not knowing with kind of treatment is going to be best for leg pain. If you’ve been looking into chiropractic care as a solution to leg pain, but you’re not sure if it will help – hopefully we can reassure you here.

Yes, a chiropractor may be able to help

Chiropractors don’t just deal with spinal pain, in fact they offer treatments to people suffering with lots of different kinds of pain. Leg pain is one of the most common types of pain, behind spinal or back pain that a chiropractor will help patients with.

Leg injuries can be caused by a variety of things, including:

  • Injury
  • Fracture
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Nerve damage
  • Sciatica
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Infection
  • Arthritis
  • Over use
  • Muscle strain
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Tendonitis

With the human body, often pain is linked to other parts of the body – without you even realising it. This is especially the case for leg pain linked to sciatica, over-use, muscle strain and nerve damage. For example, pain in your left leg may actually be stemming from your left hip or lower back. A chiropractor will be able to help identify and treat this over time, gradually bringing balance and harmony back to your legs and joints.

During your treatment, chiropractors will deliver a gentle, non-invasive, and non-medication therapy. Chiropractic adjustments can help to reduce your joint restrictions, or misalignments, which can result in reduced inflammation and improved function too. This isn’t restricted to the spine – this can be across many areas of the body.

If you’re unsure, just ask

Most chiropractors will offer an initial consultation where they will discuss your pain with you in-depth and in detail, and aim to identify the causes and treatment cause needed going forward. It’s during this time that they will be able to outline the length of treatment, but also the effectiveness too. If you’re still unsure about whether a chiropractor can help with your leg pain, the best thing to do is ask during this consultation.

Your chiropractor will be able to look over your legs, and your joints and assess whether or not chiropractic care is the right choice for your situation. In some cases it may not be, and they may be able to refer someone else who can help.

back care at a younger age

Taking Care of your Back at a Younger Age can have Long Term health Benefits

For many people, back issues aren’t something they consider or even think about, until the time comes when they start feeling problems and pain. It’s easy to ignore your posture and back health, especially if everything ‘feels fine’ and you’re not experiencing any discomfort or pain in that moment.

What you have to consider though, is the long game. Your back is going to be supporting you for your entire life, and it’s a part of your body that should be looked after and cared for. Just because you don’t currently experience any pain, doesn’t mean that bad habits or posture won’t affect the way your back feels in 10, 20 or even 30 years time.

Years of hunching, years of bad posture, years of heavy lifting can all weaken your back, and one day when you’re older, it might all creep up on you. But it’ll be too late to cure the irreversible damage you’ve done.

Taking care of your back at a young age is crucial to ensuring your back stays healthy and pain free when you reach middle age and old age. Forming good habits now, can save you a lot of discomfort later on.

So what good habits should you be trying to introduce to your daily routine? Take a read below:  

Sit upright at work (and try not to hunch)

The most important one (especially if you work at a desk or with a computer) is to avoid hunching and to practise good posture at your desk. You probably spend around 8 hours a day sat at your desk, and that’s a lot of time to be bent over or hunched over in poor posture positions.

Replace your work chair / desk with something more ergonomic

If you have the flexibility or the budget to look into new desks or new chairs  – then finding a high quality ergonomic option is ideal. There are loads of brands out there now that specialise in designing posture-friendly and back-friendly items, and you’ll really notice the difference. As well as well-designed chairs, standing desks are also a popular options right now – with many companies in Scandinavia providing them to all employees.

Stretch daily

A few basic yoga moves, or just some good old-fashioned stretching, can really help build strength and flexibility in your back muscles. Your back is always supporting you and your back muscles work extremely hard to centre your body and keep balance. Because of this, letting your muscles relax and stretching them out each day is a great habit to get into.

See a professional

If you experience any back pain in your youth, make sure you see a professional. Something that may seem small and annoying in youth, could end up being a bigger, more painful issue as the years tick by. A Chiropractor is there to assess your back’s posture and function, and they can suggest simple exercises and changes that will help improve even the smallest inconvenience or dullest pain. Start addressing any issues when you’re younger, and you’ll hopefully improve the situation for when you get older.

The sooner you address any back problems, the sooner you will reap the benefits of Chiropractic treatment and live in less pain.

Chronic Back Pain treatment

Why is Chronic Back Pain so Difficult to Cure?

Back pain is a huge problem worldwide, and many people suffer chronic back pain long term because it’s very difficult to diagnose and treat. Lower back pain affects 1 in 10 people according to researchers from all over the world, and is becoming increasingly common. Experts think the modern lifestyle is the main cause of back pain – a combination of lack of exercise, too much sitting, bad posture and some types of jobs could also be to blame.

Most of us will experience an episode of back pain at some point in our lives. However for some individuals, the pain is persistent and difficult to treat. There are many different underlying causes of back pain, so it’s important to establish the problem before a GP or back specialist can recommend treatment.

Here’s a few reasons why treating back pain is so difficult.

Difficult to diagnose

There’s a number of different types of back pain and it’s difficult to tell what patients are feeling. There is no test which can perfectly identify back pain and recognise if it relates to an underlying condition, so doctors often have to rely on descriptions of the pain. Someone with chronic back pain could be suffering from sciatica, a slipped disc or non-specific back pain and an accurate diagnosis could take some time.

Image of girl with back painLack of understanding for chronic back pain treatment

Most people know that back pain is a common problem and that it often goes away on its own within a few weeks. The majority of sufferers manage the pain with painkillers – but don’t seek advice or treat the root cause of the pain. There isn’t enough awareness about the wide range of back pain treatments available, including manual therapy, physiotherapy and specific exercise and stretch programmes.

Trial and error

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for general back pain, and people are likely to respond to different treatments. The back has many different muscles, joints and tissues so it can be hard to target the exact area which is causing the pain. There is always more than one option available, so if the first recommended treatment didn’t really have an effect, go back to your doctor and ask for something different. It’s trial and error for most people – sometimes a combination of treatments works well.

Ignoring the symptoms

Many people are reluctant to visit a doctor with back pain – some people prefer the grin and bear it approach. However, ignoring the symptoms can only make the problem worse. Sufferers who are having a ‘bad day’ with their pain may choose to stay off work and lie in bed all day. This is only making the back pain more intense, and other ill informed decisions like these can prolong the episode of back pain. If you see a GP or chiropractor straight away, they can advise certain treatments and give general tips for avoiding pain in the future.

image of a physio rubbing someones back

Why you Should see a Chiropractor

If you’ve never been to a chiropractor before, you may not see why it is necessary. Anybody can improve their body with chiropractic care, whether you’re a senior citizen with back pain or an athlete trying to enhance performance. You also don’t need to experience ongoing back pain to visit a chiropractor, which is a common misconception.

Chiropractic is a type of complementary and alternative medicine, which means you can try out a chiropractor as well as taking conventional medication for your symptoms. This type of alternative medicine involves the manipulation of the spine and other manual therapy techniques to realign the body – which can relieve pain and reduce symptoms of other conditions.

Here are reasons to see your local chiropractor Read more