Facet syndrome symptoms

Need answers to your facet syndrome symptoms? Laser Spine Institute is here to help.

Facet syndrome symptoms manifest in similar ways as symptoms associated with other spinal conditions, often making diagnosis difficult. Complicating matters further, facet syndrome is also known by several other names, including facet joint disease or spinal osteoarthritis. The basic definition of facet syndrome is the erosion of the smooth articular cartilage that lines the spinal joints, which allows the exposed articular surfaces of these joints to rub together. The friction results in inflammation, which may, in turn, stimulate the formation of bone spurs.

The cervical and lumbar regions of the spine are particularly susceptible 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
  • Tenderness near the inflamed joint
  • A deep, dull aching
  • Headaches
  • Facet joint inflammation
  • Difficulty twisting or leaning backward in the neck or lower back
  • Stiffness, particularly first thing in the morning

Diagnosing facet syndrome

After performing a thorough physical exam and completing a 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 can be another useful diagnostic tool to pinpoint the location of the issue. With this method, medication is injected into the joint believed to be causing pain. If the patient notices immediate pain relief, it can be assumed that the correct joint was targeted and more specific treatment options can be recommended.

Laser Spine Institute

Physicians initially prescribe conservative, non-invasive treatments in an effort to alleviate facet syndrome symptoms. Typically, options such as physical exercise and pain medications will result in some form of relief for patients. However, if several weeks or months of conservative treatments fail to provide adequate symptomatic relief, surgery may be recommended. Please consider the minimally invasive procedures offered at Laser Spine Institute. Our state-of-the-art techniques allow our orthopedic surgeons to perform procedures on an outpatient basis with reduced risk of complications and a shorter recovery period^ than traditional open spine surgery options. Contact Laser Spine Institute for more information, and for your MRI or CT scan review.