Sciatica versus Lumbar Facet joint sprain – Sydney chiropractor Andrew Richards explains










Sciatica can be very commonly confused for other types of injuries which in actual fact do not affect the sciatic nerve.  In my last post I spoke about common misconceptions sciatica and some other causes of back and leg pain such as sacroiliac joint dysfunction. In this post I am going to focus on another of these, lumbar facet joint sprain. As you can see in the picture, the facet joints and sciatic nerve are anatomically very close to each other. The facet joint is located behind the vertebral disc and while it plays a small role in bearing load it’s primary role is to help control the amount and type of motion available at that particular segment of the spine. They also play a role in helping to maintain a healthy space for the spinal nerves to pass out of. When the vertebra are misaligned the facet joint can become strained and inflamed, spinal nerves become irritated and pain can be referred into the back, buttocks and lower leg in much the same way that sciatic nerve damage can. This is where the confusion begins an poorly directed treatment can take place if the right diagnosis is not made.

Some of the most common ways in which the facet joints of the low back can become misaligned and injured are:

posture-sway1) Falls onto the backside

2) Sway back and forward head posture

3) Weak core and gluteal muscles

4) Prolonged sedentary postures

5) Restricted hip and pelvic motion

6) Postural changes associated with pregnancy


If you are having trouble with unresolved back pain, a lumbar facet joint sprain may be the cause of your injury. At Better Health we have a team of chiropractors, physiotherapists and podiatrists ready to help. To make an appointment please call us on 9518 0722.

Yours in Better Health

Dr Andrew Richards (Chiropractor)

Dr Andrew Richards