Facet Joint Syndrome Causes & Symptoms

Facet Joint Syndrome Overview Facet Joint Syndrome Causes & Symptoms Facet Joint Syndrome Diagnosis & Treatments

What are the Causes of Facet Joint Syndrome?

Facet joint syndrome can occur anywhere in the spine. It develops in the small joints located between each vertebra called facet joints. These joints are in constant motion, providing the spine with both the stability and flexibility needed to walk, run, sit, bend and twist. The joint surfaces are lined with cartilage allowing them to glide smoothly over each other. The cartilage inside the facet joint can become worn and inflamed, which can trigger pain signals in nearby nerve endings.  Over time as we age, the cartilage gradually wears away, and in many cases, growths called “bone spurs” can develop. The constant wear and tear between the joints lead to inflammation, tenderness, swelling, stiffness, and pain of arthritis.

When a joint is damaged through normal deterioration, injury, or repetitive trauma, it may cause long-lasting or permanent disability. In addition to age, other risk factors for facet joint syndrome include:

  • Excessive weight
  • Overuse due to sports or heavy labor
  • Presence of diseases such as gout, different types of arthritis, or infections
  • Damage may stem from injuries or trauma, including whiplash, excessive lifting of heavy weight, or a fall.

What Are The Symptoms Of Facet Joint Syndrome?

The following symptoms are associated with facet joint syndrome:

  • Pain that is often worse in the beginning and end of the day or with a change in weather
  • Lower back pain and spasms that radiate into the buttocks, pelvic area, or thighs
  • Neck pain that radiates into the shoulders, arms, or hands
  • Headaches at the base of the skull
  • Pain in the lower back from standing long periods
  • Riding or sitting in the car for a long period can flare up facets
  • Increased pain with extended standing, sweeping/mopping, or washing dishes

If you are suffering from facet joint syndrome or low back pain, and it is impacting your daily routine, work, or general quality of life, we can help you.  At the International Spine Institute, our surgeon Dr. Marco Rodriguez, routinely treats patients suffering from facet joint pain.  With proper diagnosis and conservative treatment, including physical therapy, many patients get better without surgical intervention. However, when sciatica does not resolve with conservative care, Dr. Rodriguez has had great success treating this painful condition with least invasive spine surgery. To see if you are a candidate for least invasive spine surgery, fill out our pain evaluation form, and submit your most recent MRI. Our staff will call you and gladly help you through the process of getting a Free MRI Review.

Do you know someone who could benefit from this information?