Facet joint syndrome is pain at the joint between two vertebrae in your spine.
The facet joints are the joints in your spine that make your back flexible and enable you to bend and twist. Nerves exit your spinal cord through these joints connecting to other parts of your body. Healthy facet joints have cartilage, which allows your vertebrae to move smoothly against each other without grinding. Each joint is lubricated with synovial fluid for additional protection against wear and tear.
When your facet joints become swollen and painful due to osteoarthritis, it is called facet joint syndrome.
Facet joint disorders comprise most of the chronic disabling low back and neck problems, and can cause serious symptoms and disability for patients. However, facet joint problems rarely involve the spinal nerves.
Facet joint syndrome can be caused by a combination of aging, pressure overload of your facet joints, and injury.
Patients with facet joint syndrome have difficulty twisting and bending their spine. If you have facet joint syndrome in your cervical spine (your neck), you may have to turn your entire body to look left or right. Facet joint syndrome in your lumbar spine (low back) may make it difficult for you to straighten your back or get up out of a chair.
Where your pain, numbness, and muscle weakness occur will depend upon which are nerves affected. The nerves in the cervical spine may cause symptoms in your neck, shoulders, arms and hands. Nerves are in your lumbar spine may produce symptoms in your buttocks, legs, and feet.
There are number of nonsurgical treatment options that can be tried to alleviate the pain and rehabilitate the back.
Successful long-term treatment involves proper exercises with instruction by a trained physical therapist or other healthcare provider.
Changes in daily activities (e.g. shortening or eliminating a long daily commute), adding frequent rest breaks, heat (e.g. heat wraps, a hot water bottle, hot showers) or cold (e.g. cold pad applications), using low back pillows while seated or riding in a car (particularly in the acute phase) may help alleviate painful episodes. Maintaining proper posture may also help greatly.
Our orthotics can help you maintain a good posture and relieve pressure and pain.