Spinal arthritis causes stiffness and low back pain. The stiffness is worst upon waking up in the morning, tends to ease with activity, then worsens toward the end of the day. Presumably, this is because fluid has built up in the joint due to inactivity overnight, which causes more swelling.
The low back pain due to facet joint arthritis has a typical pattern:
- The pain is mostly — more than 80% — in the back, runs into the buttocks, and often really feels like it’s in the hip.
- As it gets even worse people often report burning on the outer aspect of the thigh, and sometimes pain down the leg.
- Because the pain runs down the leg people, even doctors sometimes, confuse it with nerve root pain.