Facet Joint Syndrome: Causes and Treatment

Facet Joint Syndrome: Causes and Treatment


This Blog Talks About…

  • Facet joint syndrome is one of the most common causes of all recurrent, painful low back and neck problems, according to Spine Health.
  • Symptoms of facet joint syndrome may resemble a herniated disc, fracture, or torn muscle in the spine if it has affected the lumbar (low back) or cervical (neck) regions.
  • The pain management specialists at American Spine discuss the causes and treatments for facet joint syndrome.

Facet joint syndrome is usually characterized by its symptoms of intermittent pain and tenderness in the low back or neck. Patients with facet joint syndrome may also experience increased pain while leaning backward, pain that radiates down the buttocks and back of the upper legs, or pain that radiates within the shoulders or upper back.

This condition is usually caused by the natural aging process, but other factors that may lead to the development of facet joint syndrome include: obesity, overuse from sports or heavy labor at an early age, injury to the spine, gout, arthritis or an infection.

Although diagnostic imaging alone (i.e. CT and MRI scans) is not very effective when identifying facet joint syndrome, there are ways it can aid in the diagnosis and treatment process. A facet joint injection or block is a treatment option that usually procedures the most definitive diagnosis. This injection utilizes diagnostic imaging with a contrast dye and a local anesthetic/steroid medication mixture for pain relief and peace of mind.

As alluded to previously, a facet joint injection contains an anesthetic and steroid medication solution to diagnose and provide long-term relief to areas causing pain. Other non-surgical treatment options for facet joint syndrome may include:

  • Maintaining good posture
  • Applying heat or cold to reduce inflammation and boost blood flow
  • Taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (i.e. ibuprofen, Tylenol, Celebrex, etc.)
  • Medical branch blocks

At American Spine, we are dedicated to treating chronic pain and spine conditions. Offering the latest in minimally invasive spine surgery and other effective treatment options, American Spine is the leading pain physician group of California. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (951)-734-PAIN (7246).

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.