Can a Back Brace Prevent Facet Joint Pain?
It is estimated at 4 out of 5 people will have back pain at least once in their lives. Often, the pain comes on suddenly as the result of a strain or an accident-related injury. However, many people suffer from chronic low back pain due to an ongoing condition. In either case, there is a tendency to “push past” the pain in order not to miss any responsibilities or pleasurable social activities.
Back brace for short term pain
The most common source of lumbar (lower back) pain is from a torn muscle or ligament. Unless the pain is agonizing, self-diagnosis and self-treatment is usually the first line of defense. Selfcare may include taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory products, heat or cold applications, and a little extra bed rest. In addition, use of a back brace may add to short term relief by supporting the injured area so it doesn’t work as hard, and providing protective stabilization to prevent aggravating the area during movement. Corset-type braces are readily available at local pharmacies, and they are simple to use.
There are other short-term types of braces for special circumstances, but these are prescribed by a doctor. For instance, after back surgery a doctor may prescribe a specially molded brace to keep the spine still until enough recovery has occurred to move on to physical therapy without a brace.
Back brace for long term pain
Back pain that never completely goes away, or that comes and goes, indicates a need for professional diagnosis. There are many long-term conditions that cause chronic lower back pain, including deteriorating facet joints that lead to bone spurs and nerve compression.
Long term conditions require accurate diagnosis and possibly intervention. Self-prescribing a back brace to alleviate pain and discomfort is usually a mistake. Not only does it not address the underlying source of the pain, but it can also set up a more complicated problem. Other areas of the back will try to compensate for the pain by working in ways for which they were never intended. This can lead to pain in other locations while the root cause is getting worse. Down the road, this makes it more difficult to determine what was causing the pain to begin with. The brace may feel like it’s taking off some of the burden but it may actually be compounding the problems. In short, chronic low back pain is usually your body’s way of asking to see a doctor, not run out to buy a neoprene corset brace.
True relief from facet joint pain: MRgFUS
When recurring or lingering lower back pain starts interfering with normal work and enjoyment, MRI scans and other tests can determine what’s causing the pain. If facet joint arthritis proves to be the source, and conventional treatments don’t offer effective relief, consider a new noninvasive treatment called MR-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS). This outpatient treatment requires no needles, surgery or radiation, yet it can provide significant, durable pain relief. If you or a loved one suffers from intense lumbar pain, skip the brace. Instead, contact the Sperling Medical Group for an evaluation to learn if MRgFUS can help you.
- Facet Pain