A Closer Look at Facet Joints and Spinal Stenosis
By Debra Rodzinak
Every part of the spine, with the exception of the vertebra at the top of the spine, is very flexible and allows for movement of much of the body. There are three parts of the spine that you will find at every one of the 33 vertebra that make up the human spine:
- Vertebral body – These are the bony parts of the spine. These are those recognizable parts of the skeleton that run down the back from the head to the pelvis.
- Facet Joint – These small joints are located between and behind connecting vertebrae and stabilize the spine.
- Intervertebral disc – These are disc shaped cushions that are located between each vertebral body and holds them together.
Without one of these three important parts of the spine, we could not move, our vital organs would not be supported, and our delicate spinal cord nerves would be exposed.
Facet Joints and Flexibility
To keep our spines from turning around and around like a Lazy Susan, the facet joints provide stability while still allowing the spine a certain range of flexibility. However, when the facet joints become overextended, the spine loses support and pain can occur.
With this stretching, inflammation will develop at the site. The spinal nerves can become pinched or compressed. Spinal stenosis is a common reaction to a compressed spinal nerve. Leg pain, tingling, weakness, or numbness are signs that lumbar (lower back) stenosis is present. When the pain is present in the arm or a loss of coordination occurs, cervical spinal stenosis is often the culprit.
Spinal Stenosis Treatment
If it is determined that spinal stenosis is present, surgery may be required. However, there are many non-surgical options to try before resorting to surgery: Exercise, anti-inflammatory medication, epidural injections, activity modification, and chiropractic treatment.
If you suffer from leg or back pain, or if your arms seem to have lost coordination, visit your physician. If your physician determines that spinal stenosis is present and you don’t want to rush into surgery, come by The Joint for a gentle, drug-free adjustment with one of our qualified doctors.
With no pesky insurance forms to fill out or appointment times to remember, a visit to The Joint is often less expensive than many insurance copays. The Joint works with patients to develop a plan of action that will help relieve back pain while keeping the patient in control of their own treatment plan. Don’t live with back pain anymore. Come by The Joint and find relief!