Current Sports Medicine Reports:
doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e3181caba05
Section Articles

Lumbar Facet Syndromes

Beresford, Zach M.; Kendall, Richard W.; Willick, Stuart E.

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Abstract

Low back pain is a common presenting complaint to sports medicine providers. The lumbar spine is a complex anatomic structure with multiple potential pain generators. Epidemiologic studies have shown that the intervertebral disc is the most common pain generator in all patients with low back pain. The facet joints may account for 15%-40% of low back pain. It can be challenging at times to establish a firm diagnosis of facet pain. Facet pain can have different presentations, and pain emanating from other lumbopelvic structures can present similarly as facet joint pain. This article reviews the anatomy and biomechanics of the lumbar facet joints, presenting symptoms and physical examination findings seen with facet pain. We also will discuss diagnostic and treatment paradigms that are helpful to the clinician treating low back pain in athletes.

© 2010 American College of Sports Medicine

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