Facet joint syndrome is a degenerative condition that breaks down cartilage inside the facet joint. Cartilage degeneration can cause inflammation and force facets to press on nerve roots. This can trigger pain signals in nerve endings, but you can manage the discomfort by visiting a pain management clinic. Experts diagnose your condition and determine the ideal treatment option to help you manage the pain.
Facet Joint Syndrome Symptoms
Common symptoms of facet joint syndrome include:
- Discomfort when leaning back or sitting. The discomfort results from your posture exerting more pressure on the nerve endings. While trying to reduce the pain, many patients opt for the wrong postures, which can have worse effects in the long run.
- Inflammation on sections of the spine. Areas with inflamed facet joints are tender, and often some redness accompanies the swelling.
- Radiating pain in other areas of the body. If the affected facet joint is at the lower back (lumbar region), patients can experience radiating pain to the hip, buttocks, and upper leg. Problems within the cervical facet joint cause shoulder, neck, and upper back pain.
- Loss of flexibility in the spinal muscle. This can affect your range of motion and make mobility uncomfortable.
Facet Joint Syndrome Diagnosis
Pain in the spine can result from various conditions, so you must undergo a comprehensive evaluation before starting treatment. Experts use multiple ways to diagnose facet joint syndrome accurately, including:
- Evaluating the patient’s history: Doctors review medical records to check for underlying conditions or past injuries that might cause the pain. Patients with arthritis are more susceptible to facet joint syndrome.
- A physical exam: Pain management experts palpate inflamed facet joints to check for tenderness in areas you feel pain. A physical exam will help your doctor determine where the facet joint problem is located.
- Medical imaging (if necessary): X-rays, MRI, and CT scans can help identify any underlying concerns like anomalies in the vertebrae structure.
Proper diagnosis allows pain management experts to develop a comprehensive treatment plan for your condition.
Facet Joint Syndrome Treatment Options
Pain from damaged facet joints can be irritating and affect your range of motion. Dealing with the discomfort through treatment may help you regain mobility and retain proper posture. Here are some common methods that experts use to manage facet joint pain:
Depleted cartilage between spinal facets causes them to grind on each other. The grinding motion can affect specific joints that pain management experts target using facet injections. Facet injections help alleviate pain in arthritic patients, promoting comfort during movement.
Depending on the location of affected facet joints, the pressure within the spinal canal can trigger specific nerves. Pain management experts use peripheral nerve stimulation to focus on the triggered nerves. This technique helps alleviate pain in specific areas like the shoulder or leg. Peripheral nerve stimulation effectively manages pain in different body parts, allowing you to retain a full range of motion.
While most treatments offer instant relief, some methods are not permanent but alleviate pain as you recover. Nerve ablation is among the pain relief solutions you can enjoy long term. Pain management experts use radiofrequency ablation on specific nerves to eliminate pain signals to the brain.
Before the nerve ablation process, doctors use an anesthetic to test the nerve causing pain. This helps identify the nerve and single it out for a successful ablation procedure.
Stem Cell Therapy
Damaged cartilage can take time to regenerate, which increases the recovery timeframe. Stem cell therapy helps hasten the cartilage repair process, potentially allowing for a sooner recovery. Doctors use the patient’s bone marrow or blood to derive stem cells that are later injected into the affected areas. This helps with soft tissue regeneration, which promotes faster repair of ligaments, tendons, and cartilage.
Inflammation within your spinal canal presses on nerve roots, causing pain. Your doctor may prescribe epidural steroid injections to help treat the inflammation. Reduced swelling means more space in the spinal canal and lesser pressure on nerve endings, helping alleviate pain. The medicine they use helps prevent inflammation, potentially offering longer-lasting comfort.
Visit a Top-Rated Pain Management Clinic
Facet joint syndrome often manifests through lower back and neck pain depending on where the affected facet joints are located. Pain management experts can help you regain a full range of motion by working to alleviate pain and discomfort. Visit the best pain management clinic for a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan.