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An Overview of Facet Syndrome

Last updated 5 years ago

The vertebrae in the spine are connected by facet joints. Two of these joints are located between each vertebra, on either side. They serve to support and stabilize the spine, and to provide greater mobility. Facet syndrome, also called facet disease or facet hypertrophy, refers to degeneration of these critical joints. A problem with the facet joints can lead to significant back pain. If you experience back pain, see a pain management doctor. Keep reading to learn what to expect if your pain management doctor diagnoses you with facet syndrome.

Typical Symptoms

Back pain that occurs from facet syndrome is typically localized to the area of the degenerated joint, which may be in the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar regions of the spine. If the degenerated joint is in the lumbar area, you may experience lower back pain accompanied by discomfort in the buttocks and thigh. Facet syndrome in a cervical joint can cause radiating pain around the neck and shoulders. You may also experience significant stiffness that interferes with your mobility and posture.

Causes and Risk Factors

The most common causes of facet syndrome include physical trauma to the area, arthritis, and repetitive strain injuries. Vertebral slippage, or spondylolisthesis, is another potential cause. In addition to advanced age, risk factors for this condition can include genetics. Your pain management doctor may also ask you about your level of physical activity.

Treatment Options

The treatment for facet syndrome is often the same as the diagnostic method: facet joint injections. Your pain management doctor may inject a medication directly into the joint to numb it. If the injection relieves your pain, the doctor has successfully pinpointed the source of your discomfort. Depending on your specific condition and needs, your doctor may recommend additional treatment methods, such as physical therapy or bracing.

The doctors at Pain Specialists of Orange County are dedicated to providing unparalleled patient care in a comfortable environment. Our board certified pain management doctors will personalize a treatment plan that’s right for your needs. Please contact us at (888) 699-1334 to schedule an appointment with our locations in Laguna Hills, Mission Viejo, or Irvine.


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