What Causes Facet Syndrome?
Facet syndrome can happen anywhere in your spine. This syndrome develops in the facet joints between each vertebra. Under normal conditions, these joints are in continuous motion giving the spine both flexibility and stability for every day movements. Did you know that our joint surfaces are lined with cartilage allowing them to move easily over each other? So, as we get older, the cartilage gradually deteriorates, and growths called “bone spurs” develop. As a result, this increased friction between your spinal bones leads to swelling, tenderness, pain and stiffness. Although, in many patients, arthritis is believed to be the result of aging, traumatic injuries and overuse speed up this degenerative process.
What Are the Risk Factors for Facet Syndrome?
When a joint is damaged through injury, natural deterioration, or repetitive trauma, the joint will become stiff, swollen and painful. Although, you may experience inflammation, it is typically temporary. However, in arthritic joints, it may cause long-term pain or permanent disability. Below are additional risk factors:
- Excessive weight
- Overuse due to heavy physical labor or sports
- Presence of conditions such as gout, infections or arthritis
- Damage may be due to older injuries, including whiplash
- Sleeping with your neck in a twisted position
- Family history of facet syndrome
- Sudden jerk of your neck
- Even, twisting while you lift something overhead
- Along with trauma to the spine
What Are the Most Common Symptoms?
- Pain that is worse in the morning or at the end of day
- Change in weather can worsen pain
- Lower back pain that travels into the thighs, buttocks, or pelvic area
- Neck pain that travels into the head, shoulders or arms
- Headaches that include aches behind the eye, pain at the base of the skull, and/or ringing in the ears
- The sound of bone on bone when you move
- Abnormal curvature of your spine
- Numbness or weakness in your arms or legs
- Pain when standing for long periods of time
- Increased pain when riding or sitting in your car for long periods of time
How Is Facet Syndrome Diagnosed?
Accurate diagnosis starts with an experienced doctor. Facet Syndrome symptoms overlap with several types of disorders. Properly diagnosing the correct cause of your pain is critical to successful treatment.
- Firstly, with a thorough clinical examination
- Secondly, including a complete health history, review of your symptoms, and physical evaluation
- Testing can include x-rays, MRI or CT scans
- Lastly, these advanced diagnostic methods ensure that the source of pain is pinpointed