Facet joint image

Lumbar Facet Joint Irritation

Back pain is familiar to almost all of us – whether young or old, fit or not, you’ve probably suffered from some sort of back pain before. It can be caused by anything from poor posture to a complex existing trauma of the spine. But what if you have occasional periods of acute pain and there’s no apparent cause? One reason may be lumbar facet joint irritation.

What is it?

The Lumbar Facet Joint is the posterior part of the lumbar spine. During twisting or extending movements, stretching or compressive forces are placed on the facet joints, which can cause pain.


Facet joint sprains typically occur due to excessive bending, lifting or twisting from traumatic or repetitive/prolonged forces. If the cartilage in your spine wears down, pain can occur from the irritation caused to the nerve roots.

Signs & Symptoms

You may feel a radiating pain from your spine, typically greater on one side and often associated with same side hip or buttocks pain. When the pain occurs, you may feel sore or tender to the touch due to the muscles in the area tightening in an attempt to protect the area. Sensation changes can also occur in severe cases. 


As with many injuries, for the first 48 hours, rest and anti-inflammatory medication is recommended. This will aid the irritation at the core of the pain. Following this, manual treatment from a physiotherapist for muscle spasm and tightness should be addressed, followed by core stability, flexibility and mobility exercises. Get in touch with your doctor or physiotherapist for diagnosis and advice on the right treatment for your case.


You should notice significant pain reduction over the initial two weeks following the injury if you seek treatment and avoid aggravating activities. Total recovery is typically 4 to 6 weeks with complimentary core strengthening and education to decrease the risk of recurrence.

Any back pain that occurs more than once from no particular cause is reason to seek help. If you’re experiencing neck, back or hip pain, it’s important that you get in contact with a healthcare professional to ensure you don’t aggravate an injury and get back to normal quickly. 

If you need help with pain or immobility to get you moving again, or need a tailored exercise program, book in for your treatment now with one of our exercise, physio, or pain specialists via 1300 012 273 or book a session online at your nearest clinic.