Spinal Glossary: F

  • facet joints: The pairs of hinge-like joints that connect vertebrae and allow for articulation of the spine. Like all joints, facet joints are vulnerable to degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis as the body ages. Facet joints are synovial joints, which means each joint is surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue and produces fluid to lubricate the joint. These are also known as zygapophysial joints.
  • facet injection: A minimally invasive procedure that uses an injected nerve-blocking agent for two purposes: to reduce pain caused by inflamed facet joints and to confirm that the pain is coming from the suspected facet joint.
  • FDA (Food and Drug Administration): An agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The FDA is responsible for the protection of public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines, other biological products, medical devices, the food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements and more.
  • fluoroscopic guidance: Use of radiologic imaging to assist in the placement of instrumentation for invasive diagnostic and surgical procedures.
  • fusion: Surgery to permanently connect two or more vertebrae in the spine. The goal is to eliminate motion between vertebral segments, thereby alleviating chronic symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness caused by spinal nerve compression. Implants are used to secure the vertebrae together, and a bone graft is often used to enhance stability.
  • Facet Disease: Facet disease is a degenerative condition that develops over time and affects the facet joints.
  • Failed Back Surgery Syndrome: Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) does not have a clear definition — this is because it is not so much a medical condition as it is a way to describe the negative outcomes of spinal operations that have not effectively addressed your neck or back pain.
  • Foraminal Stenosis: Refers to the narrowing of the canals in the vertebrae that are responsible for protecting the nerve roots as they exit the spinal column.
  • facetogenic: Describes pain related to the degeneration of one or more of the vertebral facet joints in the spine. Facetogenic pain can cause chronic neck or back pain, in addition to other symptoms related to nerve compression.
  • facetectomy: A facetectomy is a surgical procedure in which an orthopedic surgeon excises one or more degenerated vertebral facet joints in order to remove a common cause of nerve compression and neck and back pain.
  • facet syndrome: The deterioration of the vertebral joints that interlock adjacent vertebrae and stabilize the spine.
  • foramen: A foramen is an opening or canal in the spinal column through which spinal nerves travel after branching off the spinal cord.
  • foramina: Refers to the canals or narrow passageways that exist between the vertebrae and protect spinal nerves. Plural of foramen.
  • foraminal narrowing: Also known as foraminal stenosis, the gradual narrowing of the foraminal canals in the spine may lead to painful nerve compression.
  • fibromyalgia: Chronic pain that affects muscles and connective tissues. The condition is most likely to affect middle-aged women and is thought to be caused by a genetic predisposition, stress, depression or an abnormality in the central nervous system.