What is Facet Joint Pain?
Facet joint pain or facet joint disease is discomfort that is designated in the spine, lower back, or neck area from an injured or inflamed synovial joint. This pain is often the result of an injury or trauma. The spine is made up of many bones called vertebrae. Each vertebra has two facet joints (left and right), which act as a hinge, allowing flexible spinal movement. Like every joint in the body, the facet joints also have cartilage to help aid in stable, healthy motion and function. If a facet joint or the cartilage that surrounds these hinge-like bones become damaged, then acute pain is often a result. This type of discomfort may also lead to facet joint syndrome or facet arthropathy. If you suspect your discomfort is from one or more of your facet joints, we invite you to contact Tricity Pain Associates in Texas to connect with one of our lead medical professionals. We can perform a comprehensive exam to properly diagnose your symptoms and develop a custom treatment plan to help manage your pain to bring the relief you need.
Facet Joint Syndrome
Facet joints are a pair of joints on the back of the spine and are prone to arthritis. This is one of the most common causes of back pain. Just as arthritis in a person’s hand can cause enlargement of the joints, the same occurs in the back. When the facet joints enlarge, they can narrow the opening where the nerve roots leave the spinal cord and go out to the body. Symptoms can include neck pain without associated arm pain. The pain is typically described as an ache and centrally located. Treatment options include physical therapy, chiropractic adjustments, medial branch blocks, facet joint injections, and radiofrequency denervation.
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Symptoms of Facet Joint Pain
Possible signs and symptoms of facet joint pain may include but not limited to the following:
- Muscle spasms
- Neck pain or shoulder pain
- Chronic dull pain in the lower back, buttocks, thighs, or spine
- Stiff neck or loss of mobility in the neck and/or spine
Causes of Facet Joint Pain
Facet joint pain is typically caused by a locked facet, injury, or trauma, which can affect your mobility, causing stiffness or overstimulation (hypo- or hypermobility). The most common types of injuries associated with facet joint pain include fractures, dislocation, or overstretched ligaments. Joint damage can also be the result of rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease that attacks healthy joint tissue, causing extreme pain and even deformity to areas, like the hands. This condition is predominant in older patients and athletes or individuals who perform routine tasks, like painting and typing.
Treatment for Facet Joint Pain
At Tricity Pain Associates, we offer several forms of treatment for the management of facet joint pain. Some therapies may include pain injections or steroid shots and physical therapy to gain better muscle control or to help increase muscle movement. Radiofrequency ablation (rhizotomy) may also aid in improving your symptoms. Each person is different, which is why we encourage you to visit one of our Texas locations to schedule a private consultation with one of our medical professionals to discuss your pain. In some cases, a simple strengthening technique or stretch is all that is needed to help improve your pain and prevent future injury.
Improve mobility and pain
Chronic pain may be difficult to diagnose, which is why it's important to see a certified medical professional if you are experiencing long-lasting discomfort. At Tricity Pain Associates, we can accurately identify your pain and the underlying cause to help ease and manage your symptoms so you can regain mobility and optimal health. If you believe facet joint pain is the culprit, don't wait any longer to get the medical assistance you need to improve your quality of life.