Facet Joint Syndrome

Facet joints help stabilize the spine, and allow for vertebrae to properly lock together. Facet joints are lined with cartilage, and surrounded by a disc made of tough, robbery material to protect the vertebrae and allow for proper bending and twisting.

Facet Joint Syndrome occurs when a facet becomes stressed or damaged. This is caused by simple wear and tear with aging, direct injury to the back or neck, or degeneration of an intervertebral disc.

When suffering from this condition, the cartilage that covers the facet joint wears away, causing the joint to become stiff. As vertebral bones rub against each other, bones spurs may begin to form around the edges of the facet joint.

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Pain from Facet Joint Syndrome differs depending on what region of the joint the damaged facet joint is located:

Cervical

Pain may occur in the neck, shoulders, upper middle back, or cause headaches

Lumbar 

Pain may occur in the lower back, buttocks or thighs.

Facet Joint Syndrome may be treated with rest, ice or heat, medication, and/or Physical Therapy. Facet joint blocks may be used to diagnose pain and treat it. Surgery is often avoided unless it is necessary – which may only be the case once all non-surgical treatments have been attempted.

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