Facet Joint Arthritis
FACET JOINT ARTHRITIS also called FACET SYNDROME, or SPINAL ARTHRITIS is a common painful condition of the lower (lumbar) spine
and Neck (cervical) Spine. Symptoms are usually stiffness and pain after being immobile, as with arising from bed or a chair. One may have pain
on getting out of bed, up from a chair, or on getting out of a car after a
long drive, with difficulty straightening up the lower back. For the Cervical Spine (Neck) the pain may radiate to one or both shoulders, into the upper back, or to the back of the head with headaches.
Morning pain may lessen after a hot shower and after being up and about for a while. Pain also occurs with standing, and those affected may need to bend or sit to relieve the pain. The condition occurs with spinal degeneration with age, sometimes beginning in 40's or 50's. It may also occur years after a disc herniation with loss of disc height, after spinal fusion surgery, or in patients with scoliosis. Another common cause in the cervical spine is from trauma, commonly in the form of a violent flexion/extension injury such as "whiplash" where the facet joints are violently flexed then extended, causing
inflammation in these joints which may persist for a long period of time.
TREATMENT early on is physical therapy, chiropractic, and medications such as Ibuprofen. With the progression of the disease, other interventions are quite effective. these include:
1. Facet Joint Injection (medial branch or intra-articular injection)
2. Radiofrequency Ablation