Facet Joint Pain

Symptoms of Facet Joint Pain

As with most spinal conditions, the symptoms of facet joint pain can vary widely in intensity. Individual symptoms often differ according to the location of the facet joints and spinal nerves that are affected by joint deterioration and inflammation.

Are you experiencing any of these symptoms? Because facet joint pain occurs sporadically, it can be a difficult condition to diagnose. Schedule an evaluation today with our team of diagnostic experts by contacting (973) 538-0900. Our board certified, fellowship-trained spine surgeons have over 6 decades of combined experience in diagnosing and treating facet joint disorder!

Diagnosing Facet Joint Pain

Because the spine is a series of interconnected and moving parts, it can be difficult to pinpoint the source of your pain with a physical examination alone. As such, when bouts of pain occur, X-rays should be taken and examined. When there are atypical variations in the facet joints, your doctor can identify these irregularities on X-ray films. Your doctor may prescribe a CT scan to view your facet joints or other spinal components that may affect your condition.

For a conclusive diagnosis of facet joint pain, however, your doctor will likely administer a facet joint injection or facet joint block. If injecting this local anesthetic relieves your pain, your physician can determine that facet joint pain is the cause of your discomfort. If your pain persists, however, a different cause is to blame for your condition.

Facet Joint Pain Treatment Options

Pain Management

Anti-inflammatory medications, as well as pain relievers, can help to ease discomfort during intermittent bouts of pain. Your doctor may also recommend the alternating application of hot and cold packs to alleviate episodes of acute irritation.

Facet Rhizotomy

This procedure uses radiofrequency pulses to interfere with nerve conduction from the facet joints to the brain—the site of our awareness of pain. Blocking these signals does not reverse facet joint deterioration, but this procedure does effectively silence discomfort.

Conservative Therapies

Activity modification, physical therapy, chiropractic manipulations, postural adjustments, and the use of traction can provide more long-term relief for mild to moderate cases of facet joint disorder by improving spinal flexibility and enhancing spinal alignment.

Spinal Fusion Surgery

Facet fusion involves using a bone graft to fuse together adjacent segments of vertebrae that are causing facet joint pain. Eliminating joint movement reduces pain and prevents further deterioration of the facets. Sometimes a spacer is used to reverse nerve compression. Read more...