Sunday, July 26, 2009

Facet Joints

Until last Friday night I didnt know what a facet joint was. And now I know its location, as well as its capacity to inflict pain of extraordinary dimensions. Apparently there are multiple facet joints in the spine: its the space between any two vertebrae, shown in this diagram within the blue rectangle.

My trouble is the space between the L4 and L5 vertebrae has opened up, at the facet joint, and is causing the area to become inflamed.

The fact that there are a whole bunch of nerves that reside in the joint between the bony bits, means that I can feel this inflammation. Boy, can I feel it! So, until the inflammation goes down, Ill be stuck in bed trying to type with two fingers on my side. Pretty tricky stuff.
The GP reckons it might well have been my overly flexible hip/back muscles that have caused the problem: too much pushing the envelope during yoga. DAMN! I had been trying to be sooooo careful to strengthen my abdominals with all the right pilates exercises, but still I have managed to injure myself.

Its so hard to know where the limits of the body lie, and what our capacities are. I always find this challenging in yoga: knowing how far to take a pose. When there is no pain, then it all feels why has this happened????

(Image Courtesy of Beverly Hills Pain Management Centre)


  1. Hi Jen

    so sorry to hear you have joined the invalids... dang this getting older and not having bodies that spring back...

    I am wondering how long it will take before I can feel comfortable doing yoga and pilates again, the flexibility in the ankle is pretty low. It is going to be a slow process. As I type I am rolling my foot backwards and forwards on a foot rocker the physio gave me to use.

    Rest up and enjoy the down time..

    Happy days

  2. Hi Delwyn,
    The down time is frustratingme, but you are right, there is a silver lining. I get to be in bed!!!
    how did you injure your ankle?

  3. Take good care and recover fully now and pay careful attention to your activity once you start moving about again. The critical time is when you are feeling better but haven't fully healed, the pain is gone but your back is still fragile, it's easy to overdo it then and do more damage...take care to not do too much in this time window. I had major spinal surgery last November after many years of back pain and not heeding doctor's advice about caring for my back. It's only starting to feel really good now, it has been a long haul.

    Hope you can get some reading in while resting...remember to take the drugs, they are your friend.

    Keep us posted, okay..??

  4. Sound advice Kerrie, thank you.
    Ive been through this once before 3 years ago, and it took me about 3 months of hydrotherapy, physio and massage before I felt like my back was normal again. This time is not as bad, as I knew the warning signs and got help quicker. And it seems like the problem is a bit different: not muscular, but joint related. m not sure what to expect in terms of recovery.

    Ive suspended my gym membership :(

    Glad you are on the mend now.

    Yes, reading is good! Just finished the "Cathedral on the Sea" and hunting around for another good book!

  5. Oh Jen! Wish I was there to keep you company! As soon I have bookclub (tomorrow) I will make you a little list of books to send Steve to get for you:
    I have recently read 'The other Boylen girl' and 'The constant princess' (first one was better but second about Elisabeth- a Spanish princess going to England- so had to read it) by the same author and while other books are perhaps better I really enjoyed them as historical fiction, easy to read, exploring the difference in cultures, women in courts, etc.
    The Shadow of the Wind is another good Spanish book! Have you read A Fine Balance- that is a great read, also the Pursuit of Happiness by Douglas Kennedy is really good, and so is Middlesex.
    Get better soon!

  6. Hi Ana,
    Only just found this! I have read middlesex, and loved it. I found it on your book shelf one year we were house sitting for you! And shadow of the wind you gave to me years ago!!! lol!

    Ive just popped the others on hold at the library. thanks for the suggestions. kiss kiss, Jen x