Vertebral Joint Blockages

By | June 10, 2022

Vertebral joint blockages occur when the mobility of the articular processes belonging to the vertebral bodies is restricted as a result of wear and tear or overload, so that the spine loses mobility. Blockages in the vertebral joints can usually be treated well with conservative therapy.

What are vertebral joint blocks?

A vertebral joint blockage is a restriction in the mobility of the articular processes or so-called facets (facet joints), via which the individual vertebral bodies are connected to one another, which is caused by wear or overload. For definitions of hypospadias, please visit

If the sacroiliac joint (sacroiliac joint) is affected by a blockage, this is referred to as a so-called sacroiliac syndrome. Since the small vertebral joints have pain receptors, overexertion can lead to a stabbing pain in the affected area, which later turns into a deeper, dull pain. This can worsen under exertion and in many cases radiate into the legs, buttocks and/or groin area.

The mobility of the spine is restricted due to the pain, which usually leads to a protective posture in those affected, which can cause additional tension in the back muscles and an increase in the vertebral joint blockage.


Vertebral joint blockages are usually due to degenerative spinal changes (wear and tear of the intervertebral discs, vertebral arthrosis ) or overloading of the spine (heavy lifting, trauma).

As a result of wear processes or overloading, the vertebral bodies shift against each other, so that the vertebral joints are loosened from their normal structure. Even minor dislocations (changes in position) of the facet joints can lead to irritation of the joint capsule.

The muscle groups that stabilize the spine tense reflexively to protect against further overloading, which results in restricted mobility of the vertebral joints. These are disrupted in their function and block.

In addition, a pain-related relieving posture, in which (rotating) movements are avoided in the affected area, can cause overloading of other spinal segments and a higher degree of vertebral joint blockage.

Typical Symptoms & Signs

  • stabbing pains
  • Back pain in the spine area
  • movement restrictions

Diagnosis & History

A vertebral joint blockage is diagnosed as part of a physical examination based on a check of the mobility of the individual spinal segments. Sprains or blockages in the facet joints can be detected in the prone position by the doctor or physiotherapist placing one hand on the lumbar vertebrae area and pulling the stretched leg up with the other.

If the person concerned feels pain, this can indicate a vertebral joint blockage. Imaging procedures such as X-rays, computer or magnetic resonance imaging allow statements to be made about underlying wear and tear of the vertebral joints.

Depending on the underlying cause, vertebral joint blockages can be easily treated with consistent physiotherapy and muscle building through exercise and sporting activity. If the vertebral joint blockage is based on wear and tear of the vertebral joints, the course and prognosis depend on the extent of the spinal degeneration.


Vertebral joint blockages usually lead to very severe pain. This pain is stabbing or burning and in many cases also spreads to the neighboring regions of the body. The pain can also occur at night in the form of rest pain and thus have a very negative effect on the sleep of the person concerned.

Because of the vertebral joint blockages, many patients also suffer from irritability or from mental disorders and depression. Due to the severe pain in the back, there are also restricted movements and a significantly reduced quality of life for the patient. Strenuous activities or sporting activities can no longer be carried out easily.

Since this disease does not heal itself and in most cases the symptoms worsen, patients are dependent on medical treatment in any case. The treatment itself does not lead to further complications. With the help of various therapies and applications, the symptoms can be alleviated. However, complete healing cannot be guaranteed. Vertebral joint blockages do not have a negative effect on the patient’s life expectancy.

When should you go to the doctor?

If there are complaints and irregularities in the back area due to heavy physical exertion in everyday life, you should take a break immediately. If the discomfort is minimized within the next few hours or after a night’s sleep, a doctor is usually not needed. In the future, the needs of the organism should be taken into account and situations of physical overstrain should be avoided. To support and optimize the movement sequences, consultation with a physiotherapist or doctor can be sought. This prevents and can protect against health impairments.

If symptoms occur in the spinal area after a sudden movement, after sporting activities or after an accident, fall or violence, these should be monitored further. If the problems persist for a long time or if there are an increase in health impairments, it is advisable to consult a doctor. Pain in the back, restricted mobility and disorders of the muscular system must be examined.

If the daily obligations can no longer be carried out without discomfort, there is cause for concern. Medical care is necessary to avoid long-term damage and secondary diseases. If pain occurs or if there are irregularities while resting, a doctor’s consultation is necessary. If the pain spreads further in the body, there is also a need for action.

Treatment & Therapy

Vertebral joint blockages are usually treated conservatively at first. Light movement and stretching exercises under the guidance of a physiotherapist or physiotherapist (at least the first time) can already solve existing blockages in many cases.

If there is severe acute pain, which can lead to additional tension as a result of a pain-related relieving posture, painkillers can also be used for a short time. Pain and heat plasters, seed pillows and creams or ointments with capsaicin can be used locally to reduce pain and promote muscle relaxation and blood circulation in order to increase mobility in the affected area and reduce the risk of additional tension.

In addition, manual therapy (chiropractic) measures can be used to try to release the vertebral joint blockage. For this purpose, the aim is either to improve mobility in the affected spinal area (mobilization) through careful stretching or to release the blockage (manipulation) with the help of a short movement impulse from the affected area in a pain-free direction.

In the run-up to a manipulation, a so-called test reference should be made to check whether the measure can be carried out painlessly. If the pain is severe, infiltration may be indicated in rare cases. As part of an infiltration, a local anesthetic with anti-inflammatory cortisone is injected at or into the affected vertebral joint in order to loosen the blockage in the vertebral joint.


Vertebral joint blockages can best be prevented by exercising the abdominal and back muscles, which stabilize the spine like a corset. Targeted exercises and regular movement also prevent further pain episodes in the presence of vertebral joint blockages. Back-friendly sports such as backstroke, cycling or Nordic walking are also recommended to reduce the risk of vertebral joint blockages.


After the treatment of a vertebral joint blockage, numerous patients often suffer from recurring back problems, which primarily affect the lumbar spine. A medical back bandage is applied as a helpful follow-up treatment. It supports the conventional therapy.

Bandages also help to prevent renewed joint blockage. The bandages can be worn both at work and during sporting activities and protect the vertebral joints. The best aftercare for vertebral joint blockages is prevention to prevent relapses. Stretching the muscle groups, which often shorten, and strengthening the muscles that stabilize the torso, such as the back extensors, are particularly useful.

However, the training should be even, because with one-sided exercises there is a risk that the imbalance in the muscles will become more entrenched instead of improving. Physiotherapy exercises under the supervision of a physiotherapist are therefore recommended. Excessive protection, on the other hand, is less helpful. It only helps against the pain in the early phase of the vertebral blockage.

Otherwise, the movement should be started again quickly. This counteracts muscle breakdown. The regularity and slow increase of the movements is more important than an excessive training workload. If you are overweight, you should lose it. So the spine is overburdened by too many extra pounds.

You can do that yourself

The general movement sequences should be checked and improved as a matter of principle in the event of disturbances in joint activity. It is particularly important to ensure that lifting and carrying physical loads is optimized. In some cases, these operations should be avoided altogether. Jerky movements should be completely avoided in everyday life.

Your body weight should be within the normal range. Existing obesity is detrimental to general health and can lead to lifelong impairments of the skeletal system. It also increases the risk of bone and joint diseases. Therefore, those affected by vertebral joint blockages should check their own weight at regular intervals and initiate weight reduction if necessary.

In principle, sporting activities and the execution of professional activities must be adapted to the physical possibilities. Various sports often cannot be performed for a certain period of time until the blockages have regenerated. It is also necessary to check whether other physical exercises are more suitable for the long-term development of one’s own health. There is also the possibility of temporarily minimizing or stopping the fulfillment of professional tasks. Wearing warm clothing has proven to be helpful, especially in cold months. It is also important to ensure that the spine is not exposed to any draughts. Warming baths or going to the sauna are often pleasant and relieve the symptoms.

Vertebral Joint Blockages