Facet Joint Syndrome

Facet Joint Syndrome Pain Management

Facet joints allow for small twisting, turning, and bending movements between adjacent vertebrae in the spine. Facet joint syndrome, or osteoarthritis, is most commonly seen in adults over 50 years of age and occurs when facet joints become worn or torn. The wear creates bone spurs and enlarges the joints. Most people develop it due to the deterioration of the cartilage in the spine over time, but it can also be caused by injury, accident, or overuse. When you experience chronic pain and/or severe spasms anywhere in your neck or back and it worsens when standing or leaning backwards, you might be suffering from facet joint syndrome or chronic axial back pain. The facet joints can become inflamed and cause pain, soreness, and stiffness. The facet joints are innervated by a small medial branch nerve that extends from the exiting nerve to the facet joints and into your muscle column in your back. This nerve transmits the sensation of pain from your back to your brain.

Facet joint syndrome may also be known as chronic axial back pain. Common symptoms include:

Millions of Americans suffer daily from the facet joint condition, but many people don’t ever go to the doctor for treatment, because they fear that their only option will be surgery. Fortunately, there are numerous non-surgical options available at the Spine Institute of North America. Learn more about facet joint injections and other pain management techniques we can use to help you find relief.

What Is Facet Joint Syndrome?

Facet joint syndrome is the pain that occurs at the joint in between two adjoining vertebrae. It happens when these joints, which allow movement and flexibility in the spine, get worn out. Normally, these joints have cartilage in between the vertebrae. The cartilage and synovial fluid help the joints to move smoothly and protect them against wear and tear. When these joints become painful and inflamed, the condition is known as facet joint syndrome.

What Causes Chronic Facet Joint Pain?

This painful syndrome can occur at any location within the spine. It occurs in the facet joints, which are the small joints between the vertebra of your spine. The joints are always in motion and help provide stability and flexibility in the spine. They help you do things like sit, bend, twist, run and walk. Like your other joints, the facet joints are covered in cartilage which helps them glide and move easily. As you get older, though, that cartilage can start to wear away and cause bone spurs to grow. Injury or repetitive trauma can also cause issues with the facet joints. The friction between the joints can cause issues such as tenderness, inflammation, swelling, arthritis pain, and stiffness. In addition to degeneration of the spine joints due to age and wear, other factors can cause this condition:

The Symptoms Of Facet Joint Syndrome

Do you believe your back pain could be caused by Facet Joint Syndrome? Let our spine specialist help you discover the right treatments for back pain relief. Make an appointment with us today.

Diagnosing Facet Joint Syndrome

The key to finding the best treatment options is to start with an accurate diagnosis. When you come into our clinic seeking back pain relief, you’ll go through a comprehensive diagnosis process. That process may include:

Treatment Options For Facet Joint Syndrome

If your medical history, exam, and testing reveal that you are suffering from facet joint syndrome, our spine specialist can then start the right course of treatment and care. There are a number of options available, including non-surgical ones, that can provide both temporary and potentially significant relief.



If the treatments listed above don’t provide enough back pain relief or if your pain lasts for more than 6 months, then interventional pain management and injections for diagnosis may be the next step.