Facets are the joints that connect each of your vertebrae. A significant source of back pain or neck pain is known as Facet Joint Syndrome or Facet Pain. This is an arthritis like condition that can cause degenerative changes to the cartilage in the facet joint. When this happens the facet joint begins to break down and becomes inflamed, causing pain in the area.
Facet pain can be either acute or chronic.
For anyone that isn’t familiar with the difference between acute and chronic pain, acute pain is a type of pain that lasts for a short period of time, where as chronic pain is a pain that is long term.
An example of acute facet pain, would be if a person were to get whip lash and injure their neck.
An example of chronic facet pain, would be facet joint syndrome, causing arthritis like symptoms and degeneration of the facet joint.
What are the symptoms of Facet Pain?
Facet pain shows up in the spine and can run from your neck down to your lower back.
Facet pain in the neck may be felt in the base of the skull, shoulders and upper to mid-back. The pain in this area of the spine can also cause headaches.
Lower back or lumbar facet pain, can cause pain that runs down to the buttocks, hips and back of the thighs.
Symptoms to look out for are:
- Dull ache in the low back.
- Sharp shooting pain that goes down the buttocks into the leg.
- Pain after sitting for long periods of time.
What causes Facet Pain?
- Degeneration of the joints brought on by wear-and-tear.
- Facet joint osteoarthritis, which causes damage to the protective cartilage.
- Synovial Facet Joint Cyst can cause pressure within the joint that causes pain
- Traumatic Injuries can cause an acute facet injury, such as a car accident, sports injuries, or lifting too heavy.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call our office to schedule an appointment with me.
There are several different treatment options that can be done in order to help a patient suffering with pain. These treatments range depending on the severity of your pain.
- Anti- Inflammatory medications – Tylenol and Ibuprofen can help to reduce minor discomfort.
- Physical Therapy – working with a physical therapist to help strengthen the area can help to reduce any stiffness or pain. It’s important to work with a physical therapist when doing any type of exercise, in order to prevent further injury.
- Use a supportive brace – wearing a brace to help support the area, may reduce pain and allow the area to heal.
- Facet Joint Injection – the physician will inject a small amount of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medication to numb the joint and provide relief from pain.
- Medial Branch Block – is an injection of anesthetics and anti-inflammatory medications to disrupt the damaged nerves in the facet joint.
- Radio Frequency Ablation – uses an electric current to heat up a small area of tissue in order to stop it from sending pain signals to the brain. This treatment is great for people dealing with chronic pain vs acute pain.
When it comes to treatments there is not a one size fits all. Each patient will benefit from different treatments based on their diagnosis.
Talk to Dr. Ashu K. Goyle about which treatment would be best for you. He offers a comprehensive approach to treating any chronic pain.