Neck & Back: Facet Joint Disorder


The facet joints in the spine allow for the spine to safely twist and stabilize the vertebrae. The facet joints are positioned between and behind the vertebrae. These joints can be damaged from wear and tear, causing bone spurs and osteoarthritis.




Signs and symptoms of an Facet Joint Disorder may include:
  • Intense pain near facet joints can happen occasionally and unpredictably
  • Pain from the lower back facet joints can radiate downward, into buttocks and upper leg
  • Pain from the cervical facet joint can radiate to upper back and shoulders
  • Tenderness near joint
  • Reduced muscle flexibility in spinal area
Self Care

The doctor may recommend heat or cold therapy to help relieve pain, modifying activities and maintaining good posture.

Medications

Anti-inflammatory medications can help to reduce pain and swelling.

Physical Therapy

Certified Physical Therapists work closely with doctors to create an individualized program to maximize healing and restore function, strength and mobility.

Technique

Facet pain can be relieved by a procedure called facet rhizotomy, which removes nerve endings using X-ray as a guide to freeze or burn the small nerve endings.

Surgery

When conservative treatment fails, surgery may be considered such as bone fusion to alleviate facet joint pain.