Symptoms of Facet Pain
“Cervical and lumbar facet syndrome” is a collective name related to pain that stems from the facet joints. Each level of your spine functions as a three-joint complex. There are two facet joints in the back and a large intervertebral disc in front that comprises each intervertebral segment. This tripod ensures great stability, supports all your weight above each level and provides support for you to move in all directions.
The facet joints experience constant, repetitive motion, and can become worn or torn. They also can become restricted in movement or develop too much movement resulting in mid, low back and neck pain. The facet joints can become inflamed and may cause pain, soreness and stiffness. Common facet joint pain symptoms include:
- Low back pain on one or both sides directly over the affected joints
- Back pain with stretching, standing with a hollow back for a prolonged period or when lying on the stomach.
- Back pain when turning (looking over the shoulder).
- Radiating pain in the buttocks, hips, groin, and back of the thighs depending on which facet joint is injured.
- Decreasing pain when bending over.
- Muscle tension and cramping at the involved facet joint.
- During physical examination, there is often pressure pain in the lower back.
- Pain radiation below the knee is rarely caused by facet joints. The radiation pain is likely caused by the intervertebral disc (hernia).
Causes of Facet Pain
Facet joints and intervertebral discs carry a lot of weight. Especially when stretching the back, the back becomes hollow. This puts a lot of pressure on the facet joints. Facet back pain can be caused by:
- Shifted vertebrae caused by trauma, such as a backwards fall. As a result, the joint capsule can become inflamed and cause pain.
- Abnormal postures can overload spinal tissues, including the facet joints, and cause inflammation and pain in these joints. Overload is not always due to heavy labor. Due to repetitive movement or incorrect use of the lower back and abdominal muscles, weight can be result in highly compressive forces, which subsequently affects the quality of the spinal tissue.
- Progressive joint degeneration in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine can lead to abnormal stress and strain (including facet osteoarthritis of the lower back). The facet joints become inflamed and create more frictional pain as bone rubs on bone.
- Some people may be prone to develop facet arthritis due to their genetics or have a family history of the condition. Heredity may play a role in the breakdown or degeneration of discs in the back, which can lead to facet arthritis.
- Long term, facet pain can lead to spondylarthrosis. With this form of intervertebral disc aging, a decrease in movement between joints will numb or completely disable the nerves that provide sensation to the facet joints. As a result, joint stiffening occurs.
- Abnormalities of vertebrae or joints (scoliosis).
Your treatment for Facet Syndrome
Unfortunately, the facet joints cannot heal once they become damaged. This does not mean, however, that there is no chance for relief. Many treatment options exist to help manage the pain, including medications, injections, and physical therapy.
At your initial consultation at Fysio Masters your spinal specialist will diagnose your pain or symptoms. The visit will begin with a physical exam and collection of health history. In addition you will be asked to share the timeline and triggers of your pain and discomfort. Diagnosis of facet syndrome is made primarily from the history and physical exam. If facet syndrome is suspected, diagnostic imaging can be requested. In the event the facet syndrome is due to a poor posture or repetitive movement, our back program is to involve postural correction, soft tissue massage and manipulation of the affected areas. If the natural aging process is the main cause, your physiotherapist will focus on restoring movement and normal function in restricted and painful facet joints with gentle treatment.
Most conservative physiotherapy treatments for facet syndrome involve:
- Reducing pain and soothing muscle spasm with therapeutic massage improving circulation and reducing stress and muscle tension;
- Increasing joint mobility in restricted and painful facet joints with mobilization treatments;
- Teaching a correct posture;
- Increasing back strength and stability with facet joint exercises.
Treatment Methods for Facet Joint Pain
At Fysio Masters, the therapists that treat facet pain syndrome are trained in value based healthcare. Through extensive scientific research, our treatment techniques are proven to decrease or even completely eliminate back pain and discomfort. The wide-reaching impact of our back program has transformed the lives of patients suffering from complex neck and back conditions. Please, read what patients have to say about us. Our back program aims to improve muscle strength, mobility and coordination. During the treatment process we use:
- Spinal Mouse Back Scan
- Manual Therapy
- Dry Needling
- Medical Taping
- Massage Therapy
- Back Brace
- Facet Joints Exercises
Request an Appointment
Do you experience facet pain symptoms? Feel free to call us with your questions and learn about available facet syndrome treatment options. We are at your service 6 days a week. Call us now.06-10343160 Whatsapp +31610343160 Book Online