What is another option instead of facet joint injections which have been stopped in most areas in the UK. Some postcodes are still receiving these injections but the majority have been axed by the NHS. The reason they say is not just because of the cost but also because they do not give pain relief for long enough and so are not cost effective.

As my readers know I had regular facet joint injections (every four months) and found them a great help to my low back pain. Since they stopped them I have had two sessions (four months apart) of steroid injections into trigger points but they have been no help whatsoever so these will also be stopped.

I have looked into other types of pain-relieving injections for lower back pain and mainly come up with epidurals as another option. This is not something I have been offered but I have also read only recently that these can actually only give short-term relief of pain similar to facet joint injections.  So what is another option instead of these injections for people in chronic pain. Well, according to an article on the Manchester NHS site a new stem cell therapy is an option for this type of pain.

“A team of medical experts from Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s University Hospitals NHS Trust (CMMC) and the University of Manchester are pioneering a new procedure capable of repairing worn out intervertebral disks – the back’s shock absorbers – with a single injection. The process uses a ‘smart’ gel, which contains stem cells taken from a patient’s bone marrow. When injected into the sufferer, the gel allows new tissue to be generated.”

Stem Cell Thailand say that the ONLY proven effective alternative to back surgery is disk regeneration using enhanced stem cells. The Regeneration center of Thailand offers the most advanced treatment for sports related injuries and Chronic Degenerative Disc Disease. Their stem cell injections for back pain is much safer than invasive surgical procedure and seeks to treat the actual cause of the disease and reverse the condition through a targeted multi-step treatment to regenerate the damaged discs to their normal, healthy state.(Sivakamasundari and Lufkin 2013)*

The Regenerative Clinic in Harley Street London use this treatment and say stem cell therapy and PRP can help patients avoid spinal surgery and the side effects of epidural steroid injections. These procedures utilise the patient’s own natural growth factors or stem cells to treat bulging or herniated discs, degenerative conditions in the spine, and other back and neck conditions that cause pain.

According to Back Pain Expert Researchers at Manchester University’s Division of Regenerative Medicine are still currently running clinical trials in people with back pain to test a revolutionary treatment that could repair damaged intervertebral discs. The revolutionary new treatment based on stem cells, pioneered by Dr Stephen Richardson at Manchester University, may turn out to offer a permanent cure for back pain related to damaged intervertebral discs. For over five years, and backed with funding from the Arthritis Research Campaign, he and his colleagues at the Division of Regenerative Medicine have been developing a way of using cells from the body to regenerate the nucleus polposus in the damaged intervertebral discs.

However, unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this type of treatment to replace facet joint injections is not going to be available on the NHS in the near future.



First thing in the morning is the worst time of day for me as I am always in a lot of pain and discomfort when I first get up. Suffering from an acute low back pain first thing in a morning is quite a common complaint and can be caused by a number of conditions.

  1. Myofascial pain syndrome and/or fibromyalgia: probably extremely common, but more mysterious and controversial. Pain Science explains that there’s likely lots of overlap between these conditions. While FM is more clearly a neurological dysfunction, and MPS is hypothetically a problem with muscle tissue, they seem to cause many of the same symptoms, and each condition probably aggravates the other. 
  2. The most common form of morning stiffness and pain is due to muscle imbalances and poor conditioning of the muscles themselves.  These problems may then lead to disc, vertebrae and joint issues which will hurt even more.  A lumbar muscle imbalance area will cause a disc problem which then may put pressure on a nerve. To prevent further injury in that area, the muscles of the lower back will stiffen, tighten or spasm. Low Back Program say this common reaction is known as “muscle guarding.”  Here, the muscle spasms and becomes painfully rigid to prevent any further motion.  This happens to protect either a nerve, disc or a possible muscle strain or sprain. 
  3. The NHS UK say it could be ankylosing spondylitis – this causes pain and stiffness that’s usually worse in the morning and improves with movement. Other symptoms are back pain and stiffness, pain and swelling in other parts of the body – caused by inflammation of the joints (arthritis) and inflammation where a tendon joins a bone (enthesitis) and extreme tiredness (fatigue).
  4. Degenerative Disc Disease is when normal changes that take place in the disks of your spine cause pain.The discs of the spine serve as “cushions” between each vertebral segment. The discs are designed somewhat like a jelly donut. Degeneration (deterioration) of the disc makes the disc more susceptible to herniation (rupture), which can lead to localized or radiating pain.  
  5. Vitamin D deficiency can cause subtle widespread pain that may be misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome. Most notably for the purposes of this article, it can cause bone aching, particularly in the back, that is worse at night (for no clear reason). Naturally, any night pain that doesn’t actually wake you up is often noticed upon waking.

There are other conditions that could cause morning stiffness including trauma to the spine, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, sciatica, and pregnancy. The list above are the most common conditions related to morning stiffness but it is essential that you have a proper diagnosis with your GP of back specialist to find out which condition you are suffering from.



I found this great post on Pinterest from author Danni Newcomb on Hub Pages.  She explains that ‘Degenerative Disc Disease (or DDD) is caused by degeneration of the discs in the spinal column. Age can cause this, but most of the time it is cause by some sort of trauma to the spine. People with bulging or herniated disc almost always have this disease, as well as people with Scoliosis.

Symptoms range from person to person as well as the particular location of the spinal injury. People with lower back injuries can experience numbness and tingling in the legs and buttocks. The symptoms can also get as severe as temporary paralysis in the legs or a particular leg. Someone with upper back pain can experience headaches, numbness and tingling of the neck and arms (or arm). Muscle spasms, memory loss, and weakness in the limbs are also possible symptoms.

In some cases, DDD has been seen as a hereditary disease. However, not all doctors will agree on this and there have been no conclusive studies done to prove one way or the other.


Treatment for DDD can be somewhat complicated. Most doctors will start you on physical therapy and pain medications to see if some of the pain is alleviated. Others might try steroid injects at the points on the discs that are messed up to try to directly alleviate the pain.

If these methods do not work, your doctor might recommend surgery. They can perform a spinal fusion, place rods into your spinal column, and a few other alternative surgery methods. Surgery is entirely up to you and you should not feel pressured by your doctor to have surgery unless your ailment has become life-threatening.

Acupuncture, herbs, pool therapy, messages; all of these are other methods to look into and see if they’re right for you. Check with you insurance and see if they cover any of these alternative methods. Some insurances will pay for them if you have a doctor state that he or she believes you could really benefit from such methods.

Review every option available to you with your doctor. Talk to your family about these options and see what best fit your lifestyle. Also, making simple lifestyle changes can make a world of difference in your pain and how you handle it’.

lumber spine