facet joint problems. Desperate from London

by Amanda
(London England)

Dear Sarah,
I am Amanda from London. I have been suffering from this particular problem for over 6 months. I have had a scan and it shows 2 disc bulges and facet joint arthritis on the right side.
I have been everywhere and tried everything from a senior consultant and a spinal injection to physios, osteopaths, guns IMS acupuncture treatment, valium, NSAIDs, you name it.

My yoga teacher introduced me to your book about a month ago and I have been trying the excerises for facets i.e rocking, curl ups, rolling along the spine and when I feel better I have added some of your other exercises too.

Although initially I felt they helped to build up strength, the improvement has now been met by a brick wall and the situation instead of improving is deteriorating.

My problem is essentially at night, when laying in any position at all is so intensely painful, I feel I am being stabbed for just any minor movement, I make or my husband makes. I spend the entire night moaning in my sleep and recently feel my leg muscles have begun to cease up, in fact my whole body feels almost locked in at night, as it tenses up so much. Relaxation techniques and doing your exercises as soon as I wake up help me and generally I can get through the day with minimal pain. Some days the pain from the back goes right through the leg to the ankle and I can empathise with some of the patients comments in your book which state they feel like they have a headache in their ankle. Despite all this I am active and can walk distances and yesterday cycled for 25 miles with no negative effects whatsoever, in fact my back loves the forward stretching movement when I cycle.
The problem is it is not improving and everyone is saying I need a series of steroid injections under CT scan and I am loathe to do this if there is a chance I can sort out my back myself. Also i need to mention that 6 years ago I fell off my bike and damaged my hip. X-rays were all fine but according to one physio my pelvis is out of kilter probably due to this accident and so the facets are compensating and the nerve pain is from what happened to me 6 years ago. If I have an injection that won't rectify the problems i have with the pelvis etc.
At night I usually sleep with my legs over a pile of cushions. I have tried everything you suggest in your manual nut would love some feed back or if you could recommend someone who has trained with you over here.
Many thanks for listening to my list of complaints. Thanks Amanda

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Mar 13, 2014
facet problems
by: Sarah says

Hello Amanda,
From what you say it would appear that you are not using the BackBlock yet. I suggest you do.
I also suggest that you might like to use a pair of rolled up gloves as a mound to press into your back beside the spine to mobilise the affected facet joint.
What you do is lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent, lift your bottom and place pair of folded up gloves right under where your sore spot is. Only you will know where it is, although you will have to do do various goes of trial and error to find the exact 'sweet spot'. When you find the spot you lower your full weight down onto the rounded dome of the gloves and move minutely around on it. Their pressure will pierce sweetly through to you inflamed joint.
You can do exactly the same thing using a tennis ball although it is a little more punishing. Failing that, I am in the UK at the moment. You could contact my PA through the website. I hope this helps.

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