Facet Syndrome

A common cause of back pain is a condition called facet syndrome.  First, let us understand what a facet is and what its job is to help your spine stay strong.

Facet joints are located on the back part of the spine and each vertebra has 2 sets, one on each side. A facet joint is the part of the vertebra that helps with movement and motion.  These joints are shaped differently in different parts of the spine and allow for one vertebra to move with the one above and below it.  Part of their job is to limit extension (bending backwards) and rotation (twisting). They provide stability of the spine.

These joints are controlled by the muscles of your spine and have a close relationship with these muscles.  Did you know your muscles are controlled by the nerves of the spine?  Your muscles, joints and nerves all have to work together to keep you healthy.

FacetAn injured facet joint can become inflamed and cause pain, stiffness and soreness.  These injuries can be from a direct injury such as a fall or micro–trauma.  Micro-trauma is usually a result of repetitive injuries or doing the same motion over and over many times.  A facet injury may make it difficult to sit at a computer or watch TV.  It may be painful to bend or lift.  You might experience stiffness in the morning when trying to get out of bed.

If one of the facet joints is not functioning properly, pain and dysfunction can be a result.  The pain level often depends on the severity of the injury or lack of motion to the facet joint.

A very successful treatment of facet syndrome is a chiropractic adjustment to help restore normal motion of the facet joint.  This gentle technique is the most effective way to help the injured joint heal.  In some cases an adjustment is necessary to help relieve any muscle irritation or spasm.  A home exercise program may be prescribed to help strengthen the surrounding muscles so they can support the facet joint and help prevent re-injury.

As always, Chiropractors advocate dealing with the underlying neurological, mechanical and muscular problems.  If you or a loved one are suffering with back pain, chiropractic care is waiting to help.

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