Health & Fitness

All You Need to Know About Facet Joint Syndrome, Including its Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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Facet Joint

Sometimes one may experience radiating or localized pain in your neck or back, leading to limited mobility of the neck and headaches. This pain could result from swelling and inflammation of the joints behind your vertebrae, whose function is to maintain the stability and flexibility of your spine. The condition that results in inflammation of the vertebrae is referred to as facet joint syndrome. Therefore, facet joint syndrome in Shrewsbury is treated and managed by specialists who utilize both conservative and non-surgical treatment options.

What is facet joint syndrome?

Generally, the human spine consists of thirty-three vertebrae or bones whose function is to provide flexibility and stability of the spine. There exist two facet joints in every pair of vertebrae that connect each vertebra below and above them, thus allowing the vertebral bodies to rotate or move in relation to each other. There also exists cartilage at the joints to allow for smooth movement where the vertebral bones meet. Each vertebral bone is covered with a thin membrane referred to as the synovium, whose role is to produce the synovial fluid for lubrication.

At other times the facet joint may become irritated, inflamed, or swollen, leading to pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. This is because of the pinching or impingement of nerves that pass impulses to the facet joint, a condition called facet joint syndrome. Some of the possible causes of this condition are infection, degeneration, and inflammation of the vertebrae and discs that cover and protect the vertebrae due to trauma, aging, or poor posture.

What are the symptoms of facet joint syndrome?

The unique symptoms of this condition are dependent on the nerves and joints affected. For instance, if the affected joint is in the lumbar spine or lower back, it may lead to back pain that radiates to your legs and buttocks. You may therefore have difficulties when walking or standing. But if the cervical spine is affected, you, therefore, may have radiating or localized headaches and neck pain, making it difficult for you to rotate or turn your head.

How is facet joint syndrome diagnosed?

The health care providers usually examine your back and medical history to determine if you have facet joint syndrome. An x-ray, MRI, or CT scan of your spine may also be carried out to help rule out other conditions that might cause the pain. The doctor can also recommend a facet joint block which is a non-surgical procedure involving injecting a numbing medication near or into the nerve that serves the facet joint. In case you experience a decrease in pain after anesthesia is injected, it confirms that you have facet joint syndrome.

What treatment options are available?

Facet joint syndrome can be treated with non-surgical therapies designed to alleviate the resulting symptoms and inflammation. They may include activity modification, posture correction, facet joint block, medications like NSAIDs, and physical or exercise therapy. In case the above conservative treatment fails to provide long-lasting relief of your symptoms, the doctor may recommend surgical therapy that may include spinal fusion laminectomy, radiofrequency neurotomy, or radiofrequency rhizotomy.

If you are experiencing the above symptoms, call or visit The Center for the Functional Restoration of the Spine today for more information on various treatment options that suit your condition.

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