Lumbar Facet Joint Arthritis
Arthritis of the lumbar facet joints is known to cause severe low back pain. These facet joints are small joints that link each vertebra together providing stability and movement. These joints are in constant motion, especially when we extend our back and twist, and commonly wear out or become degenerated. A connective and lubricating tissue, known as articular cartilage, covers the surfaces where these joints meet. Like other joints in the body that are covered with connective tissue/cartilage, these joints can become affected by arthritis.
Lumbar Disc Disease
Lumbar spinal discs are the protective shock absorbers of the spine, but they can also be an important cause of low back pain. Shaped like plump slices of sausage, these once hearty, rubbery discs can develop cracks or tears with age, they can become dehydrated and narrowed, and can, after many years, look more like burnt crisps of bacon. The pathological “grease” oozing out of these degenerated discs can activate pain generators that cause unnecessary, but painful signals to the brain causing chronic pain which can become increasingly worse with time because of the constant red-hot ignition of the spinal cord.
Sacroiliac Joint Arthritis
When you feel pain in your lower back or hips, you probably think about the joints of your spine or your hip as the source of the problem. You may be surprised to learn that a pair of joints known as the sacroiliac (SI) joints are likely the cause. The SI joints connect the base of the spine with the pelvis on both sides of the body. Unlike the smaller joints in your spine, the SI joints are strong, supportive joints that don’t move much, but still have the same characteristics as more common joints in the body, like the knee. This means the SI joints have cartilage and synovial fluid, which can degenerate causing severe pain and inflammation in the joint.