Facet Joint Syndrome


This is a problem with the facet joints of the spine. These are the joints where one vertebra connects to another. They support your spine, while allowing it to bend and twist. With this syndrome, these joints become stiff and painful.


Let's take a closer look at a healthy facet joint. The surfaces of the bones are lined with cartilage. They glide against each other smoothly. The joint is covered with a capsule of connective tissue. It contains lubricating fluid.

Damaged joints

When you have facet joint syndrome, these joints are damaged and swollen. This can happen because of injury or overuse. The cartilage may wear away, so the bones don't glide smoothly. This makes it hard for your spine to bend and twist properly.


What are the symptoms? It depends on which part of the spine is affected. You may have trouble turning your head. You may find it hard to stand up from a chair. It may be hard to stand up straight, so you may hunch over when you walk. And you may have pain and other problems.


How do we treat it? We start with things like joint injections, medications and physical therapy. If these don't help, we can treat the nerve roots to block pain. We may recommend surgery. Your doctor will create a plan that's right for you.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Willis Knighton Health