Facet syndrome symptoms are similar to those associated with other spinal conditions often making diagnosis difficult. Facet syndrome is also known as facet joint disease or spinal arthritis. Facet syndrome is caused by the erosion of smooth articular cartilage lining the spinal joints, allowing articular surface bone to rub together. This results in inflammation and may stimulate the formation of bone spurs. The cervical and lumbar regions of the spine are particularly prone to this type deterioration because these spinal areas are the most flexible and are subjected to the most stress over a lifetime. Facet syndrome symptoms can include:
- Intermittent pain
- A deep, dull aching
- Facet joint inflammation
- Tenderness near the inflamed joint
- In the lower back or neck, difficulty twisting or leaning backwards
- Stiffness, particularly first thing in the morning
Diagnosing Facet Syndrome
After performance of a thorough physical exam and complete review of medical history, a physician may take X-rays, an MRI, or CT scan to confirm the diagnosis of facet syndrome. A facet joint injection may also be used as a diagnostic tool, a process in which local anesthetic medication is injected into a joint believed to be causing pain. If the pain subsides immediately, it can be assumed that the correct joint was injected and more specific treatment recommendations can be made.
Laser Spine Institute
Physicians initially prescribe conservative, non-invasive treatments in an effort to alleviate facet syndrome symptoms. If several weeks or months of conservative treatments fail to provide adequate symptomatic relief, surgery may be indicated. Please consider the minimally invasive procedures offered at Laser Spine Institute. Our state-of-the-art endoscopic techniques allow our orthopedic experts to perform procedures on an outpatient basis with less risk and shorter convalescent period than traditional spinal surgery. Contact Laser Spine Institute for more information and to receive a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan.