Facet Syndrome

What is a Facet Syndrome?

Facet joints are the joints between adjacent vertebrae that allow for small twisting, turning, and bending movements of the spine.  The facet joints work with the corresponding disc to link the vertebrae directly above and below to form a working unit that lends stability and weight-bearing capacity while permitting flexibility and movement of the spine.

Facet joint syndrome, or osteoarthritis, is most commonly seen in adults over 40 years of age and occurs when facet joints become worn or torn. The wear creates bone spurs and enlarges the joints.  Most people develop it due to the deterioration of the cartilage in the spine over time, but it can also be caused by injury, accident, or overuse.  When you experience chronic pain and/or severe spasms anywhere in your neck or back and it worsens when standing or leaning backwards, you might be suffering from facet joint syndrome or chronic axial back pain. The facet joints can become inflamed and cause pain, soreness, and stiffness.  The facet joints are innervated by a small median branch nerve that extends from the exiting nerve to the facet joints and into your muscle column in your back. This nerve transmits the sensation of pain from your back to your brain.