What Causes Facet Joint Pain? Issues and Treatments

facet joint pain treatmentsFacet or Zygapophysial joint is an important part of your back. Basically your spine is comprised of multiple flexible levels that move differently. All these moveable levels are made up of three basic things – vertebral body, intervertebral disc and the facet joint.

This means that there are various facet joints in the body; these small joints allow you to bend forward and backwards comfortably.

Facet joint issues are among the most commonly occurring back problems however. Temporary disability of lower back and neck movement is caused in the start which could lead to a life-long disability if not attended properly. In this post we will look at what actually causes faces joint pain and the treatments available.

#1. Facet Degeneration:

Facet Degeneration is an ugly and painful phenomenon in which the intervertebral disc starts to wear down. This causes the height of disc between your vertebrae to decrease.

This negatively affects your facets because the amount of weight they have to support starts to vary. A similar condition can be experienced if the length of vertebrae is increased. This can only happen in case of an artificial disc installment.

#2. Osteoarthritis:

This is when the facet joints get worn out and the cartilage fluid starts drying out. Bones as a result, grow spurs and these result in enlargement of the joints. Facet joints are the ones that get inflamed and as a protective reaction, the nearby muscles of your spine also go into spasm.

The inflamed facet joints + muscle spasm combo is the reason behind back issues for many people. Mostly surgery is required to fix this issue however.

#3. Synovial Cysts:

In some cases of extended arthritis also known as spondylolisthesis, little rootless tumours or cysts can develop within your facet joints. These cysts are harmful because they put added pressure on the facet joints and your spinal cord. The pain caused by this issue is severe and in most cases, it moves down the leg resulting in issues when you walk.

Treatment for Facet Joint Pains

Facet join problems are diagnosed by performing a detailed CT scan that gives information about the whole spinal cord. In a lot of cases where facet joint issues get serious, getting surgery becomes a must.

Here’s an excellent video discussing how facet joint pains can be treated without surgery.

However there are still many non-surgical treatment options that you may utilize:

  • Consult a physical therapist and ask him for an exercise plan for your back.
  • Maintain a good sitting and laying posture. This can be improved by adjusting your car seat and resting your legs while you sit at the office desk.
  • Getting heat or cold therapies for your back can also prove helpful in giving you relief.

We hope the information in this post was helpful for you in understanding and diagnosing any facet joint issues you may be having. However, we recommend that you visit your doctor and get a CT scan as soon as possible in any case of spine and back pain, especially when moving. There is a difference between muscle and joint pains however, and it is also important to differentiate between the two before starting any treatments on your own.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to drop a comment below and share your experience.


Loraine David has written 9 articles

Having battled severe ankle joint pains due to being overweight, Loraine tries to share all her tips and research which helped her get through her own ordeals. She now leads a healthy and happy life.

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