What is Facet Syndrome?

Facet Syndrome is friction between spinal bones resulting in tenderness, swelling, stiffness and pain. Persistent, chronic pain in your spine is often linked to facet syndrome. In patients over 50 years of age, facet syndrome is usually caused by normal wear and tear. In younger patients, this condition is typically due to trauma and injury.

What Causes Facet Syndrome?

Facet syndrome can occur anywhere in the spine, and develops in the facet joints located between each vertebra. Under normal conditions, these joints are in constant motion providing the spine with both the stability and flexibility needed to move our bodies. The joint surfaces are lined with cartilage allowing them to glide easily over each other. As we age, the cartilage gradually deteriorates, and growths called “bone spurs” develop. This increased friction between your spinal bones leads to tenderness, swelling, stiffness and pain. Although 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 normal deterioration, injury, or repetitive trauma, it will become swollen, painful, and stiff. Any inflammation experienced is typically temporary, but in arthritic joints, it may cause long-lasting or permanent disability. Below are additional risk factors:

  • Excessive weight
  • Overuse due to heavy physical labor or sports
  • Presence of disease such as gout, infections or arthritis
  • Damage may stem from older injuries, including whiplash
  • Sleeping with your neck in a twisted position
  • Family history of facet syndrome
  • Sudden jerk of the neck
  • Twisting while lifting overhead
  • Trauma to the spine

What Are the Most Common Symptoms?

  • Pain that is worse in the morning or at the end of day
  • Pain that is worse with a change in weather
  • Lower back pain that radiates into the buttocks, pelvic area, or thighs
  • Neck pain that radiates into the shoulders, arms, or head
  • Headaches at the base of the skull, aching behind the eyes, and/or ringing in the ears
  • The sound of bone rubbing on bone when you move
  • Abnormal curvature of the spine
  • Weakness or numbness in your arms or legs
  • Pain when standing for long periods of time
  • Increased pain when sitting or riding in your car for long periods of time

How Is Facet Syndrome Diagnosed?

Proper diagnosis starts with an experienced doctor. Facet Syndrome symptoms overlap with several types of disorders. Accurately diagnosing the correct source of your pain is critical to successful treatment.

  • Begins with a thorough clinical evaluation
  • Including a complete health history, analysis of your symptoms, and physical examination
  • Testing may include x-rays, MRI and/or CT scans
  • These advanced diagnostic techniques ensure that the source of pain is pinpointed

As chiropractors, we always encourage patients to opt for non-invasive, drug-free alternatives if at all possible. For some patients, pain management through narcotics is required as a last resort. Both chiropractic care and Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression are effective in treating this condition with a natural approach that does not require medication, injections or surgery.

Want to learn more about a gentle approach to treating facet syndrome?
Give us a call for a consultation at (619) 313-5403.

Gentle Adjustments. Powerful Results.

Gentle NUCCA Chiropractors
Intouch Chiropractic | San Diego, CA
(619) 313-5403
sandiegonucca.com

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