What Is Facet Joint Pain?
The spine consists of 3 main components to function at nearly every level. One of these components are facet joints; small joints located between and behind adjacent vertebrae. These joints serve the purpose of stabilizing the spine and also function as shock absorbers for the spine.
Any damage or pain caused to the facet joint can be excruciating with adverse effects for the patient. Inflammation within the area is one of the most common symptoms, along with stiffness and soreness which might be so painful those suffering from the pain have to turn their entire body to move.
Ailments Associated with Facet Joints:
Persons afflicted with pain in their back might be suffering from pain associated with facet joints in the area. These ailments can be debilitating and may in persons being unable to move freely. Some of these ailments are:
- Natural wear and tear from the aging process
- Injury or trauma
These ailments can be associated with a variety of symptoms:
- Low-back pain which radiates to the buttocks and the back of the upper leg for lumbar facet joint pain.
- Neck pain which radiates to the shoulders and upper back for cervical facet joint pain.
- Acute flashes of pain in the lumbar and cervical areas of the spine, depending on the location of the facet joint pain.
- Discomfort while leaning backwards.
- Inflammation and tenderness near the facet joint that is the source of pain.
Osteoarthritis and Facet Joints:
Osteoarthritis is a very common form of arthritis which targets and pains the joint. Arthritis itself is the degradation of the cartilage within a joint and is a progressive disease, the condition and symptoms of it will worsen with time. The cartilage of the joint is what helps absorbs shock impact and allows the joint to be flexible without damaging the two otherwise connecting bones. As such, the cartilage is something which deteriorates over time from wear and tear naturally or from things such as an injury, genetics, or bone deformity. Once the cartilage has degraded to a certain state, afflicted persons will start to experience pain with movements with the joint and if the cartilage is completely degraded, they can experience excruciating pain as the bones will now be in constant contact with each other. In these cases, it is not uncommon for the person to experience stiffness and pain so severe, they become incapable of basic movements.
Facet joints in the spine are particularly susceptible to suffering from arthritis and can be called facet joint arthritis or facet arthropathy. In its initial stages, it presents itself as a dull throbbing ache across the back but can still be subject to any different type of pain pattern; as is the case with many deep organs of the body. Over time, this dull ache will become more severe unless treated; ultimately resulting in a person’s body experiencing stiffness and rigidity to such a degree, they’re incapable of basic everyday movements.
Diagnosing Facet Joint Pain:
Diagnosis of facet joint pain being the source of a patient’s back pain is a bit tricky. This is because facet joints are deep in the back of the body and under a tract of muscles. The process is usually conducted through a physical examination by one of our specialists at the Progressive Pain and Rehabilitation clinic. In some cases, a facet joint injection, MRI, or CT scan, might also be needed to accurately perform the diagnosis.
Solutions for Facet Joint Pain:
Treatment solutions are definitely available for facet joint pain and problems. These options are provided by us at Progressive Pain and Rehabilitation by utilizing quality methods that are proven to work. Some of these methods include:
- Physical therapy
- Osteopathic medicine with posture correction
- Anti-inflammatory medicine
At Progressive Pain and Rehabilitation, we provide the best, and latest Regenerative Medicine services aimed to ensure you’re back to your best feeling. Contact us today to schedule your evaluation for any of our quality pain management services.