Symptoms of and Treatment Options for Facet Syndrome

Do you suffer from back pain, especially when you are moving around? Does it become more painful when you bend backwards, or when you straighten your back? If so, you’re not alone; you may be one of millions of people suffering from Facet Syndrome.

Back Pain: Facet Syndrome

If you are suffering from back pain when moving around or bending your back, you may have Facet Syndrome.

What is Facet Syndrome?
Facet Syndrome is a specific type of back pain, in which the joints between the vertebrae in your spine have degenerated, subsequently causing you pain every time you move. In such cases, the degeneration may have been caused by the wearing out of the discs between the bones—specifically in the low back area—which can be a consequence of osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis, usually associated with age, often causes the cartilage covering the facet joints to get thin or disappear altogether. When the cartilage is no longer there, the bone in the affected joint produces a lot of bone spurs and enlarges the joints, causing tremendous pain.

However, there are other possible reasons for facet syndrome, including athletic injuries in sports where the back and/or the neck is extended during the activity, such as in gymnastics or acrobatics. Another potential cause of Facet Syndrome is whiplash injury occurring during minor car accidents.

Symptoms of Facet Syndrome
While pain from Facet Syndrome can be described as a “dull ache,” it actually has several more serious symptoms. Among these are:

  • severe pain felt in the neck or spine, especially during movement
  • increased pain when bending backwards, or when straightening your back
  • suffering from a limited range of movement, and
  • swelling or stiffening of the affected area.

There may also be radiating pain, especially into the upper back, as well as continuing headaches and neck pain.

Treatment Options for Facet Syndrome
There are many possible ways of treating Facet Syndrome. Traditional methods usually start with prescription medications to address the pain, heat therapy to relieve muscle strains, physical therapy to assist in maintaining the flexibility of the joints and in improving the affected area’s range of motion, and as a last resort, even surgery to relieve acute pain.

Beyond these common methods, there are also alternative ways to treat Facet Syndrome. Prior to deciding upon surgery, for example, one may first consult a chiropractor, who is a licensed medical professional focusing on treating spinal and musculoskeletal system injuries. During the course of treatment, a chiropractor may use spinal and muscle manipulation, stretching exercises, deep-tissue massages, and even advise lifestyle changes, in order to mitigate pain and prevent further damage to the spine.

While fairly common, Facet Syndrome can be a serious condition that can affect your quality of life. Prompt and immediate treatment should be prioritized so as to ensure a life filled with happiness and activity, rather than back pain.

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