What Patients Should Know About Facet Joint Syndrome

facet joint syndrome

The spine consists of vertebrae, which are the bones, and intervertebral discs, which are cushion-like structures located between the vertebrae. There are also small joints along the spine, known as Facet syndrome. These facet joints stabilize the spine and allow it to twist or rotate. But sometimes, the joints can become damaged and cause painful symptoms. If you visit a spine expert seeking back pain relief, one of the possible conditions he or she might consider is facet joint syndrome.

Causes of Facet Joint Syndrome

The facet joints have minimal sliding capabilities. The sliding surfaces are coated with cartilage to provide frictionless movement. Additionally, each facet joint is surrounded by a capsule that lubricates the area. Damage due to everyday wear and tear can cause the cartilage to deteriorate, which leads to unprotected joint movement. It can also give rise to bone spur development and joint enlargement. These degenerative changes of the facet joints are known as facet joint syndrome or spinal osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of Facet Joint Syndrome

The chiropractors in The Woodlands will ask for specific details about your symptoms to determine if the culprit might be facet joint syndrome. This condition can cause:

  • Acute, intermittent pain
  • Persistent, localized tenderness
  • Discomfort that worsens when leaning backward

It’s possible for facet joint syndrome to mimic the symptoms of a herniated disc. An affected facet joint in the neck area may cause pain to extend down the arm, for instance, while a damaged joint in the lower back can shoot pain down the back of the leg.

Treatments for Facet Joint Syndrome

Facet syndrome is treatable with nonsurgical or surgical methods. Patients can use heat therapy, anti-inflammatory medicine, and physical therapy exercises. A chiropractor can perform spinal manipulations for rapid back pain relief, and also provide guidance on postural improvements. Surgery is reserved for very severe cases, and it will usually involve a spinal fusion.

The Houston Spine & Rehabilitation Centers is a warm, welcoming place where you’ll find sports medicine professionals who genuinely care about your quality of life. We invite new and current patients to call 281-362-0006 to request our next available appointment. It’s our goal to provide rapid, long-lasting back pain relief for patients in The Woodlands.

Dr. Mark Yezak
Mark Yezak, BS, DC, is the founder, chiropractic director, and chief of staff at Houston Spine & Rehabilitation Centers. Offering 25 years of experience. Dr. Yezak is a published author of research papers, books, and journal entries. He is undoubtedly a leader in his field.
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