What is Facet Syndrome?

By Sara Butler

Low back pain can be caused by a variety of things, and lumbar facet syndrome happens to be one of them. But what is facet syndrome and how do you know if it’s something that may be impacting you and your back? Here’s what you need to know about facet syndrome and how your chiropractor may be able to help.

Facet Syndrome Signs and Symptoms

When you boil it down, facet syndrome is just another name for osteoarthritis. The facet joints are what make your back flexible, allowing you to twist and bend. They are also where the nerves from your spinal cord make their exit and branch out into various parts of your body. When you’re young and the facet joints are healthy they have cartilage in order to allow the bones of your spine to glide smoothly against one another. Every facet joint is also bathed in a lubricating fluid called synovial fluid that helps protect it against wear and tear.

As you age and you lose cartilage, the facet joints can become painful and swollen, resulting in osteoarthritis or facet joint syndrome.

Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty twisting and bending
  • Difficulty straightening your back
  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Weakness

These symptoms can occur at any point along your spine, from the neck down. The symptoms can also occur in your legs, feet, buttocks, arms, shoulders, and hands – depending on where the facet syndrome is located.

What Causes Facet Syndrome?

Many things can cause this issue, but it’s mostly a side effect of the aging process. It can also be caused by overloading your facet joints and causing injury to the joint, often associated with disc degeneration – yet another normal part of the aging process.

Treatment of Facet Syndrome

Facet syndrome can occur with other issues, so your chiropractor will need to do a complete exam and look at your own personal medical history as well as your symptoms to determine if facet syndrome is the correct diagnosis. A treatment plan will then be created by your chiropractor to help treat your pain and hopefully give you some relief over time.

The good news for you is that chiropractic treatment has been found to be very effective in treating facet syndrome. Many patients have reported feeling better in just a few weeks, but how treatment will impact your condition is largely up to your own individual factors.

If you’re concerned that you may be suffering from facet syndrome, speak with your chiropractor about it during your next visit to The Joint Chiropractic.

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