Facet Joint Syndrome - Frisco, TX
The spine specialists at OrthoTexas, Frisco provide complete orthopedic care to the patients. They have extensive experience in treating acute and chronic spine conditions such as Facet Joint Syndrome, Spinal Stenosis, Sciatica, Pinched Nerve etc.

Facet Joint Syndrome

The spine is divided into the cervical (neck region), thoracic (mid back region) and the lumbar (lower back region). These parts are made up of three major components namely vertebrae (small bones), facet joints (present between and behind two adjoining vertebrae) and the intervertebral discs that protect the bones from rubbing against each other.

The facet joints are covered with the cartilages and are surrounded by small sac like structures that provide them with lubrication during the movement of the spine. Any damage to the facet joint leads to a natural reflex reaction from the surrounding muscles that develop a spasm and lead to pain as well as discomfort. This is termed as the Facet Joint Syndrome.

Causes Of Facet Joint Syndrome

  • Wear and tear of the facet joints due to aging
  • Overuse injuries
  • Development of bone spurs between or around the facet joints
  • Enlargement of the joint spaces due to inflammation, as in case of Osteoarthritis

Symptoms Of Facet Joint Syndrome

  • Pain in the lower back or neck
  • Limited range of motion
  • Tenderness and swelling in the affected part of the spine
  • The symptoms may occur intermittently, such as a couple of times in a month or a year
  • Backward and forward leaning may become particularly painful
  • Pain may radiate down to the hips and legs if the lower back is affected; or upwards into the neck, shoulders, arms and hands if the cervical spine is affected
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Driving a car or sitting while working may be problematic

Diagnosis Of Facet Joint Syndrome

  • X-ray imaging of the spine from different angles to study the changes in structure
  • MRI or CT scan may be conducted to diagnose damage to the bony and soft tissue structures within the spine
  • A combination of cortisone and local anesthetic may be injected into the affected joint. If it provides relief from the symptoms, the diagnosis is confirmed

Treatment For Facet Joint Syndrome

  • The patient may be recommended to maintain a good posture that eases the symptoms while driving, sitting or performing daily activities
  • Specific set of exercises under a guided physical therapy program can be helpful
  • Using cold packs or heat pads may provide relief
  • The patient may be advised to take frequent breaks at work to rest the spine
  • Pain killers and anti-inflammatory medicines may be prescribed
  • Cervical traction or wearing a soft neck collar may eliminate pain
  • Facet rhizotomy- The nerve endings that emerge from the affected facet joint may be disabled using electrical heating which helps to eliminate the pain to a large extent
  • Fusion of the damaged facet joints in case the symptoms persist
  • Surgical removal of damaged discs, bone spurs and facet joint may be required in severe cases

For treatment of Facet Joint Syndrome and other spine conditions, visit OrthoTexas, Frisco. To schedule an appointment with the spine specialists, call at (214) 618 – 5502.