What is a Facet Joint?
The main purpose of joints in our bodies is to join bones together while allowing movement. The bones in your spine are connected together by facet joints. These joints both allow and limit rotation in the backbone (spine), ensuring that the bones (vertebrae) do not slip out of position. This helps provide stability in your spine as you move. For every vertebra in the spine, you have two facet joint sets. One set faces upward and downward while the other set faces left to right. Each facet joint is surrounded by connective tissue and they produce fluid. The purpose of this fluid is to lubricate and nourish the joint. To help the joints move and glide smoothly together, they are coated with cartilage.
Facet Joint Syndrome
Facet joint syndrome is simply a condition where those joints begin to deteriorate. Just like every other joint in our bodies, they are subject to wear and tear. The bones that make up your facet joints will not have enough cartilage to aid in smooth movement. As the cartilage wears down eventually leading to bone on bone rubbing together, bone spurs may begin to develop to attempt to return stability.
As this condition progresses, you will suffer from back stiffness and lose flexibility in your back. It will also eventually lead to pain in your back and neck. If the pain is located in the cervical or upper spine, you may experience pain the neck, shoulders, upper back, and middle back as well as headaches. If the pain is located in the lumbar spine or lower back, you may experience pain in the lower back, buttocks, and thighs. It may also cause blocked or pinched nerves, with pain radiating to many other parts of the body.
There are many risk factors that can cause this condition. These include:
- Normal wear and tear from the aging process
- Trauma such as whiplash from a car wreck
- Jobs that require constant bending over, twisting and lifting
KureSmart Pain Management offers many treatment options for facet joint syndrome, including many minimally invasive procedures and injections. Our physicians will work with you to develop the best treatments to relieve your pain from facet joint syndrome. With pain relief, our patients are able to continue their active lifestyle. To address facet joint syndrome, contact KureSmart Pain Management and schedule a consultation with one of our highly trained physicians.