Facet syndrome is a painful condition of the neck or back that occurs when the facet joint (or knuckles) are irritated or damaged. Each spinal bone connects the spinal bone above and below through the discs (in the front of the spine) and the facet joints (in the back of the spine). You can think of each spinal segment as a tricycle with one big wheel (disc) in the front and two little wheels (facet joints) in the back.
The facet joints add stability to the spine to prevent too much motion. Facet syndrome is painful in the back when you bend backwards (like the limbo dance) or sometimes twist to either side. Bending forward relieves the pain. The same is true for the neck (look upwards hurts).
Conservative care is applied to facet treatment. The syndrome usually calms down with chiropractic or physical therapy. If conservative care fails, then facet injections (medial branch blocks) are used. If the injections are only temporary, then radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is performed. RFA usually lasts between six to eighteen months. In only extreme cases are surgical interventions used.
Facet syndrome is one of the most overlooked causes of low back pain!
Schedule an appointment now to see if you have facet inflammation!