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Back Injury & Rugby

 

 

Facet Syndrome Injury (Back Injury) Introduction

Facet Syndrome of the back occurs when the back of the spine which interconnects to one another (the facets) compresses and irritates the soft tissue in between. This can inflame the nerves exiting the spine and cause the same type of symptoms commonly seen with pinched nerve conditions. This injury is characterized by short episodes of severe back pain.

The facet joints are located on either side of the spinal column. Each vertebra has a bony prominence's on each side; this forms a facet joint. These joints are enclosed within a capsule with meniscoid structure within the joint space. This supplies stability to the spine by limiting movement.

Osteoarthritis is the main cause of facet syndrome. Spinal osteoarthritis is also a normal part of the aging process for most people. Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) can also cause facet syndrome. As the discs thin and lose height, the vertebral bones become closer to one another. Abrupt moments in rugby can cause trauma to the facets and lead to this condition.

Chronic facet joint pain does not usually go away in a few days. Degeneration of the joints in often accompanied by this condition which may cause symptoms similar to arthritis.

Symptoms of Facet Syndrome

Symptoms of facet joint syndrome in the lower back include:

• Pain or tenderness in the lower back especially on one side of the body
• Pain that increases with twisting or arching the body
• Morning back stiffness
• Pain that moves to the buttocks or the back of the thighs — this pain is usually a deep, dull ache.
• Stiffness or difficulty with certain movements, such as standing up straight or getting up out of a chair

Symptoms of facet joint syndrome in the neck include:

• Neck pain
• Headaches
• Shoulder pain
• Difficulty rotating the head

Your doctor or physiotherapist will suspect facet joint syndrome after an evaluation that includes a complete medical history and physical examination. X-ray may be taken, computed tomography (CT) scan of the spine, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to rule out another disorder such as a fractured or herniated disc as the cause of the pain.

Treating Facet Syndrome

Facet joint syndrome most often is treated with a combination of non-surgical methods, including:
Posture correction — Correct alignment of the spine will reduce stress on the lower back and neck.

Activity modification — Changing your lifestyle to accommodate facet syndrome may be necessary. Changing your home and work environments to reduce the amount of twisting bending and stretching you do. Also care must be taken that you are using the correct lifting and handling techniques.

Exercise/physical therapy — Supervised exercise can help to reduce pain, inflammation, increase circulation and promote healing. Exercise will also increase flexibility and strength to prevent this condition occurring again.

Medicines — Over the counter Medicines such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) will reduce pain, inflammation and muscle spasms. Your doctor may prescribe stronger medication to reduce swelling and pain. However these do have side effects which include nausea, headaches, and sleepiness.

Back Support — A back support will provide heat, compression and support which will increase healing times and provide comfort to the player.

Surgery is rarely needed but a surgical procedure called radio frequency rhizotomy may be necessary to relieve pain and improve mobility. Radiofrequency rhizotomy, also called radio frequency neurotomy, is the surgical "de-nerving" of the facet joint.

The doctor uses a special X-ray connected to a monitor to accurately place a needle with a small electrode into the facet joint. An electric current is used to destroy the sensory nerves of the joint, leading to pain relief.

How do we prevent Facet Syndrome?

It is vital that the player develops a good posture which will increase spinal strength, Exercises to increase flexibility and strength is also necessary. A lumbar roll at the bottom of the back or a seat support will aid while sitting.


Rugby Rescue Recommends Back Supports

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Elasticated Back Brace

The Elasticated Back Brace offers compression and support without restricting movement. The two-way elasticated stretch fabric has been specifically designed to provide relief to injuries such as lower back pain, lumbago and rheumatic conditions.

The fabric is breathable, lightweight and follows the contours of the body, reducing the chance of slipping. It features an adjustable front closure for added comfort and fit, as well as an additional compression strap. Stays are provided in the rear, offering additional support.

This support can be used during a range of sporting activities, at work or at home

View Back Support

 

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