Hi jackie and gillian, welcome to the forum, I know you will find it a great place, with lovely down to earth friendly people, plus, we all sing from the same hymn sheet, in varying degrees.
I have facet joint arthur in lumbar 3 and 4, along with a miriad or other problems, but let's not get side tracked.
This is such a painful problem, unpredictable, sometimes not easy to treat. I agree that a referal to the pain clinic would be a good idea. Pilates is very good for core strength and gentle stretching.
Like Cris, I take pregablain, quite a hefty dose, which does help to a point, that along with other medication. It has been a journey of trial and tribulation to get to the right combination of pills.
I am a retired nurse and I am sure a lot of damage was done in the early years of nursing, when lifting and handling was not even a thought, you just lugged and tugged and got on with it.
I cannot offer any other advice really, the good people have covered almost all options.
I agree with you Gillian, that if you "look ok", then you must be "ok". People I knew a long time back, look at me aghast when they see me in a buggy, in the shops, saying "what's all this about then" - oh, I just ride it for a joke.
Makes me so mad.
You take lots of care and keep us posted, do pop into the cafe for a cuppa and loads of calorie free cakes. XXX Bubbles