Facet Joint Syndrome
About Facet Syndrome
Facet Syndrome, also called Facet Joint Syndrome, is a common cause of back, mid-back and neck pain. Facet joints are the small joints located between each vertebra that provide your spine with both stability and flexibility. These joints are in constant motion as you navigate through your daily work and leisure activities. Routine movements of walking, running, sitting, twisting, or bending all engage your facet joints throughout your spine. The facet joint surfaces are lined with cartilage allowing them to glide easily over each other. The joint can be become damaged from an injury, inflammation or a degenerative condition, such as arthritis. Arthritis typically begins as the cartilage lining the joint surface shrinks and wears thin, causing stress on the bone, inflammation and enlargement of the joint. Boney over-growths called “bone spurs” can develop. Any of these occurrences will cause friction between the bones resulting in tenderness, swelling, stiffness, and pain. Often this causes your muscles to work harder to protect the injured area, making them go into spasm or become very tense and stiff. Although Facet Syndrome is generally the result of the natural aging process, the initial cause of Facet Syndrome, may be an injury such as a fall or car accident.
Symptoms of Facet Syndrome
The symptoms of Facet Syndrome may begin as an ache in your neck or back that comes and goes. Then over time the pain increases and lasts longer and you often notice a loss of flexibility. Stretching, rotating or twisting your back sometimes increases the pain. Most patients find that the pain is worse at the start and end of the day, or with weather changes. The pain in your back is typically at the waist level and can radiate into your buttocks, pelvis or thighs. The neck pain you experience can radiate into your shoulders, arms and head, causing a headache and even aches behind your eyes. As you move you hear “bone on bone” sounds. Sitting or riding in a car for a long period of time can make you feel quite a bit worse.
Traditional Treatment for Facet Syndrome
Treatment for Facet Syndrome begins with physical therapy that uses therapeutic exercise, stretching, and postural adjustment to improve alignment, increase strength and range of motion. While therapy generally improves strength and mobility, for many patients neck and back pain is persistent. For pain that is resistant to therapy, facet joint injections are helpful in minimizing the discomfort and pain experienced with Facet Syndrome. Traditional Facet joint injections use cortisone and local anesthetic. These injections are useful for establishing the diagnosis of Facet Syndrome and identifying exactly which joints are painful. They also can provide relief that may last weeks to months but relief is usually time limited. For longer lasting relief, radiofrequency ablation which destroys the nerve supplying sensation to the joints identified as painful can be performed. This is a destructive procedure that, while providing relief, also results in loss of muscle tissue and small areas of skin sensation.
To learn more and get help for Facet Syndrome please Schedule an Appointment with Regenerative Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialist Daniel Southern, M.D. in Danbury or Wilton in Fairfield County Connecticut by calling 203-456-5717.
Regenerative Orthopedic Medicine Treatment for Facet Syndrome
Regenexx® Procedures provide non-surgical treatment options for those suffering from pain related to osteoarthritis, joint injuries, spine pain, overuse conditions, and common sports injuries. These medical procedures are only performed by highly-skilled doctors and are used to help reduce pain and improve function. Regenexx procedures have helped thousands of patients improve their quality of life, return to the activities they enjoy, and avoid the need for surgery or joint replacement*.
Regenexx Physicians represent a very selective, highly-skilled, interventional orthobiologics network that is 100% focused on orthopedic conditions. All Regenexx physicians are musculoskeletal experts with extensive training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, as well as complex, image-guided injections of your body's own healing agents to treat orthopedic issues. Regenexx patient outcomes are tracked in a registry and with that information, we provide transparent outcome data (below) for those who may be considering this treatment option.