27 May Back Pain Treatment for Facet Syndrome at Seattle Pain Clinics
Facet Syndrome Treatment in Seattle
Facet joint syndrome is pain that is found in the joint between two vertebrae in your spine. Facet syndrome is another word for osteoarthritis or spinal arthritis and leads to significant back pain. Facet joints, as the name suggest, are the joints in your spine that help make your back flexible and enables you to bend and twist.
These joints keep the body from slipping forward or twisting without limits. Just like the knee joint, they have cartilage that allows smooth movement where the two bones meet. The joints are well lined up with a joint lubricating fluid.
Once these joints are injured, they become swollen and painful. If the joint affected is found in the neck, it causes headaches along with neck pain, and the patient may experience difficulty moving the head. If it happens in the back, it may result to pain in the lower back, buttocks and/or thighs.
As people age, the cartilage starts to wear down slowly, and this may be a major reason for bones spurs to grow. The high amount of friction that is caused by lack of cartilage accompanied with increased bone growth results in tenderness, swelling, pain and stiffness. The common risk factors for developing facet syndrome include;
- Overweight or obese
- Normal aging process
- Diseases and conditions such as arthritis, gout, osteoporosis,
- History of family with syndrome
- Overuse due to occupation or sports
- Damage as a result of whiplash or other accidents
What are the Causes of Facet Syndrome?
Facet syndrome is caused by a combination of factors such as injury, aging, and pressure overload of your facet joints. The pressure on your facets is caused by degeneration of intervertebral discs in your spine. The disc begins to degenerate and wear down, and finally they may collapse.
This leads to narrowing of the space between each vertebra. The process of narrowing of the space found between each vertebra affects the nature of your facet joints. The result is a lot of pressure on the articular cartilage surface of the facet joint. This sort of pressure leads to damage of the articular surface and no sooner than later the cartilage begins to wear out.
Facet joint arthritis may get worse; hence the cartilage and fluid that helps in lubricating the facet joints are eventually destroyed, leaving bones rubbing on other bones. This may lead to severe back and neck pain.
What are the Symptoms of Facet Syndrome?
Patients with facet syndrome report symptoms such as neck and back pain. They also have difficulty twisting and bending their spine. Facet syndrome in your lumbar spine or low back may make it difficult for you to straighten your back.
As this condition develops, pain, numbness and muscle weakness becomes more frequent and intense and can be triggered by the slightest activity. If the nerve affected is the one in your cervical spine, then you may have symptoms in your neck, arms, shoulders, neck and hands.
The most common symptoms of facet syndrome include;
- Pain in the lower back that may spread to the upper legs, pelvis and buttocks
- Pain mostly in the morning, evening and in case of weather changes
- Severe headaches at the base of the skull
- Decrease in flexibility plus difficulty bending
- Neck pain that stretches into the upper back and shoulders
- Curvature of the spine
- Numbness in legs and arms
- Severe pain after sitting for an extended period of time.
How is Facet Syndrome Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of facet syndrome is a critical process. It starts with the history and physical examination of the patient. Your Seattle pain management doctor may need other tests to confirm the diagnosis such as a medial branch block as a diagnostic nerve block. Tests such as X-rays, CT scan, MRI and blood tests may be recommended to determine whether there are any injuries in your spine.
What are the Treatment Options for Facet Syndrome?
There are different treatment options available for those suffering from facet syndrome. Once a person is diagnosed with facet joint syndrome, your Seattle pain doctor will recommend physical therapy to treat your symptoms. A good rehabilitation program will help calm down the pain and inflammation, thus improving your strength and mobility. This will help you carry on with your daily activities with ease and ability.
Measures such as pain medication, reduced activity, physical therapy, heat treatments, and weight loss are used to reduce the symptoms. In physical therapy, ultrasound and electrical stimulation methods are also used to treat muscle spasms. For chronic instances, facet blocks and radiofrequency ablation are used to eliminate the symptoms for an extended period of time. Nerve blocks combined with anaesthetic injections helps in the treatment of chronic back pain associated with facet joint syndrome.
Overall, nonoperative pain treatment at a Seattle or Tacoma pain clinic is remarkably effective at relieving neck and back pain. This may work long term and all treatment is provided by a Double Board Certified Seattle pain management physician.
Call (855) WASH-PAIN today!