Facet Joint Pain

The facet joints are the areas in the spine that connect the vertebrae, which are the bony segments that make up the spine. Like all joints, these structures enable the body to perform bending, twisting, and flexing motions. Inflammation in these joints causes pain and stiffness that makes it difficult to move. Facet joint pain, also referred to as facet joint syndrome, most often affects the cervical spine (neck) and lumbar spine (lower back).

Causes of Facet Joint Pain

There are several factors that may contribute to facet joint pain, including aging, pressure overload of facet joints, and injury.

  • Trauma
  • Arthritis

Symptoms of Facet Joint Pain

When it comes to joint facet pain, it is important to be properly diagnosed by a certified specialist. Common symptoms for facet joint pain may include:

  • Pain that may be often be intermittent, usually occurring a few times per month or per year.
  • Pain may be localized to one side of the body
  • Pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back, which is indicative or cervical facet joint problems.
  • Pain in the lower back, and upper leg, which is indicative of lumbar facet joint problems.
  • Difficulty walking, or walking hunched over.
  • There may be more discomfort leaning backward when compared to leaning forward.

Diagnosis of Facet Joint Pain

If the intermittent pain episodes continue to recur, it’s important to explore the possibility of joint facet pain. To diagnose joint facet issues, we perform a thorough physical examination and take X-rays in order to determine if your facet joints are inflamed.

Treatment of Facet Joint Pain

  • Physical Therapy
  • Steroid injections, facet joint injections

Physical Therapy

A physical therapy rehabilitation program can be implemented in order to reduce the symptoms of joint facet pain. Therapy can help can help to reduce pain and inflammation, while simultaneously improving strength and mobility.

Steroid Injections, Facet Joint Injections

Facet joint injections can be a very helpful treatment for facet joint pain. Depending upon the location of the inflammation – cervical, thoracic, or lumbar – a small amount of local anesthetic and a steroid medication is injected. The injections work to block the pain the inflamed areas.

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