What Is Facet Joint Syndrome?
Our spine is made up of vertebra. These vertebrae are connected by facet joints, allowing your spine to bend and twist, but not bend and twist too far. The nerves run through these joints and exit out of the spinal cord. A healthy facet joint contains cartilage. The cartilage serves as a cushion between your vertebrae so that they do not grind against each other.
Facet joint syndrome occurs when aging, injury, or an overabundance of pressure in the facet joints causes the cartilage to break, producing pain between two vertebrae at this joint. It is also known as facet arthropathy or facet arthritis.
In other words, the reason why facet joints are so important is that they are the part of your body directly responsible for the flexibility in your spine. Without them, you would be unable to perform many of the movements needed to for everyday life. Facet joint syndrome is what inhibits this ability.
It’s not just pain and degeneration of the spine, however, that patients will face. There are a variety of different symptoms that can make your life much more difficult.
Common Symptoms of Facet Joint Syndrome
Some of the most common symptoms that patients experience with this syndrome include:
- Difficulty twisting or bending their spine
- Back or neck pain (wherever the pressure is built up in the spine)
- Stiffness in the neck
- The need to turn your entire body left or right to look in that direction (this one is a telltale sign of cervical spine facet joint syndrome)
- Difficulty straightening the spine or leaving a chair is a common symptom of lumbar spine facet joint syndrome (when facet joint syndrome occurs in the lower back)
How Can Innovative Pain Solutions Treat This Syndrome?
While certain symptoms are telltale signs of facet joint syndrome, you must first go through some testing to be sure. This evaluation will include a look into your medical history and a physical exam. Once a proper evaluation by Dr. Kalia has been conducted to confirm if you indeed are suffering from this syndrome, you will then be able to discuss the proper course of action with your doctor. Common treatments include, but are not limited to:
- Spinal Injections: this form of treatment involves initially therapeutic or diagnostic facet blocks, based on the response to the initial treatment a facet joint rhizotomy, or radio-frequency denervation can be considered.
- Physical Therapy: Exercising with the proper lifting and walking techniques can actually help you heal faster.
- Medications: some anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxing medications are used to treat irritation and muscle spasms.
- Exercise: Once some pain relief has been achieved, exercise will be required to maintain the fluidity of your neck as much as possible.
Schedule An Appointment
At Innovative Pain Solutions, your happiness and health are our priority. Call us today or fill out the form above to schedule your appointment to be seen by Dr. Rajan Kalia at one of our three office locations (Dr. Phillips, St. Cloud & Kissimmee).