Facet syndrome refers to the pain stemming from and felt in the facet joints. There are three facet joints comprising the spine: two joints in the back and one large disc in front. These joints provide support and stability, allowing you to move freely in all directions as well as support your weight.
However, these facet joints are synovial joints. This means that they are prone to wear and tear due to constant and repetitive motion. When the joints suffer from wear and tear, their movement becomes limited. This eventually make the face joints inflamed, resulting in pain, stiffness and soreness.
Pain is the most common symptom of face syndrome. The severity of pain and where it is felt depends on the facet joint affected.
There are three facet joints: cervical, thoracic and lumbar. Cervical facet joint pain is felt in the upper back, neck, shoulders, base of the skull and mid-back. In some cases, patients experience ringing in the ears and frequent headaches. Facet syndrome in the lumbar spine, on the other hand, which is also quite common, affects the buttocks, groin, and thighs. The pain is also directly felt in the affected face joint. Thoracic face syndrome, though less common than the other two, does not only cause pain. It also restricts the motion and rigidity of the thoracic spine.
The pain is worsened by long periods of inactivity, such as prolonged sitting or standing. Face syndrome is generally worse in the morning because of inactivity during sleep. Changing positions and moving around help improve the pain though. It’s best to avoid sitting or standing for long hours.
Degenerative changes affecting the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine are the most common causes of face syndrome. Such degenerative changes can lead to stress and strain, resulting to increased loads on the joints. These cause wear and tear of the joints. Aside from this, face syndrome may also be caused by a trauma like a whiplash. Poor posture may also contributed to the development of facet syndrome.
The conservative treatment options for face syndrome include manipulation, soft tissue massage and postural correction. In restoring the restricted movements of the facet joints, physical therapy is a great option. These are often combined with other treatment options such as medications like anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxers.
However, when conservative treatments are not enough, steroid medications such as injections may be the best treatment. As a rule, the treatment is based upon the severity of the condition and the individual needs of the patient.
Here at Arizona Pain and Spine Institute, we offer pain management solutions for face syndrome, as well as other pain conditions.
As pain specialists, AZ Pain and Spine Institute is the best place to go to seek medical attention for your pain condition. With our state-of-the art facilities, cutting-edge technology and highly-trained professionals, we can provide relief and treatment for your face syndrome. Make an appointment with us to get started.