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Facet Syndrome

The spine is a very complex structure that is responsible for almost all of the movement in our bodies. When something in your spine is injured or not working properly, the results can be both extremely painful and devastating to your daily life. Facet Syndrome is a condition of the joints in the spine responsible for keeping the other bones of the spine in line. When these joints have degenerated, it causes other joints and bones to slip, causing often intense pain. If you have swelling, lower back or neck pain that is worse at the beginning or end of the day, and your everyday life is being affected, a trip to Advance Health and Wellness may help to provide a solution.

Facet joints exist on each level on both sides of the spine in the lower back, or lumbar region. They are responsible for approximately 20 percent of stability in the lower back that aids in twisting motions. Our ability to run, walk, sit, dance, or bend is made possible by these joints. They provide the needed support in the area, especially with rotation of the torso. They constantly move, and so wear and tear is common, especially as we age.

Cartilage lines the facet joints, enabling them to glide smoothly over one another. When the joints are too worn down, the cartilage in between them may become thinned, or even go away completely. The non-cushioned contact with the bone below the degenerated joint can cause bone spurs, joint swelling, tenderness, and stiffness. When that occurs, you can develop osteoarthritis, producing a great deal of back pain when you move. The result of this process is facet joint syndrome, or facet joint disease.

Though this syndrome is usually the result of aging, the initial cause of facet syndrome may be an injury, overuse, or a few other contributing factors such as excessive weight. Carrying the extra weight causes too much pressure to be put on the facet joints, resulting in a premature wearing down of the cartilage. Injury to the joints can occur from a number of activities, as well, such as sports involving aggressive contact like football or wrestling. Other pre-existing spinal, back, or neck injuries like whiplash or bulging discs, or things as seemingly harmless as sleeping on an injured neck, can result in facet joint issues.

Inflammation of the facet joints can be temporary, and could see equally temporary relief from taking prescribed or over-the-counter drugs with anti-inflammatory properties. But these are not long-term solutions. In arthritic joints, long-lasting damage or even permanent disability can occur if early and proper diagnosis does not take place.

No matter the specific cause of your facet joint syndrome, when your joints are damaged by deterioration, injury, or trauma, they can become swollen, stiff, or extremely painful. Back and neck pain are some of the most difficult to cope with and can hinder your ability to function normally or enjoy your life. Relationships can be affected by irritability caused by your pain, or the inability to visit with family and friends. Your work may also suffer as a result of decreased productivity. Seeking help for your condition can remedy all of these problems.