The NeuroMedical Center | Patient Education Library | Facet Joint Syndrome

This condition is a deterioration of the facet joints, which help stabilize the spine and limit excessive motion. The facet joints are lined with cartilage and are surrounded by a lubricating capsule that enables the vertebrae to bend and twist.


Joint Damage
Facet joint syndrome occurs when the facet joints become stressed and damaged. This damage can occur from everyday wear and tear, injury to the back or neck or because of degeneration of an intervertebral disc.

Cartilage Loss
The cartilage that covers the stressed facet joints gradually wears away. The joints become swollen and stiff. The vertebral bones rub directly against each other, which can lead to the growth of bone spurs along the edges of the facet joints.

Symptoms (cervical)
Pain from facet joint syndrome differs depending on which region of the spine is damaged. If the cervical, or upper spine is affected, pain may be felt in the neck, shoulders, and upper or middle back. The person may also experience headaches.

Symptoms (lumbar)
If the lumbar, or lower spine, is affected pain may be felt in the lower back, buttocks and back of the thigh.

At The NeuroMedical Center, facet joint syndrome is first treated conservatively
with rest, ice, heat, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy.  Our facet joint experts may administer facet joint blocks to diagnose and treat facet joint pain.  If non-surgical methods fail to relieve pain, a facet rhizotomy or bone fusion
may be performed.  These procedures are performed in The Spine Hospital of Louisiana.