Facet Joint Syndrome causes pain in the lower back, thighs, buttocks, or neck. When it affects the neck, it may trigger headaches or difficulty when attempting to move the head. Some sufferers feel they must rotate the entire body to simply look right or left.

Stiffness and pain from facet joint syndrome may create problems when trying to get up from a chair or standing up straight, and possibly resulting in a hunched-over walking style.

Commonwealth Spine and Pain Specialists shares an overview of facet joint syndrome.

facet joint syndrome

What Causes This Condition?

The spine is composed of multiple bones (vertebrae) stacked on top of each other to create the spinal column. Although each bone is separated by a cushioning disk, these vertebrae have projections that touch the subsequent bone below it.

Known as facet joints, these touchpoints allow for spinal movement but can become inflamed due to arthritis or injury since nerves pass through these joints as they stretch from the spine toward other areas of the body, pain results when the joints are swollen.

How Can It Be Treated?

In some cases, these solutions may be helpful:

  • Anti-inflammatory pain medications (NSAIDs) such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Ice or heat packs applied to the problem area
  • Core strengthening exercises
  • Physical therapy to stretch or strengthen muscles in the area

How Can a Doctor Help?

Orthopedic physicians are specially trained to provide help for facet joint syndrome. They can effectively treat this problem using methods tailored to your needs, including:

  • Radiofrequency ablation – using heat to intentionally damage nerves that carry pain signals.
  • Facet joint injections – medication applied to problem joint areas to numb pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Medial branch block – injection of anesthetic to numb small medial nerves near the swollen facet joint
  • Surgery – procedures to reduce pain by stabilizing the movement of a joint and may include the fusion of two vertebrae.

Facet joint syndrome can generate pain that severely impacts comfort and quality of life. Orthopedic doctors can provide effective, long-lasting relief for this condition. Schedule an appointment with Commonwealth Spine and Pain Specialists today at (804) 288-7246 for expert treatment by one of our outstanding providers.