What is Facet Syndrome?

The facet joints (or zygapophyseal joints) are spine stabilizers that aid in controlling movement. They are located at the back of the spine.

There are two facet joints at every level of the spine, one on either side. They assist in limiting excessive rotation and extension movements. However, in excess, these same movements can also injure the facet joints.

Injuries to the facet joints can have many causes and are usually classified as a sprain injury. There is swelling, inflammation, and pain because this type of sprain injury damages the facet joint capsule.

The pain in turn causes muscle spasm and severe pain. An acute facet syndrome can be extremely debilitating and almost completely immobilize a person for short periods.

If the sprain is severe it can take weeks to subside. The healing time with conventional treatment is 2-6 weeks however, with proper chiropractic manipulation; we see the pain usually reduce much faster, sometimes in a single treatment.

How are facets joints injured?
imagesMost injuries are caused by multiple ‘micro-traumas’, which means many small repetitive injuries, until finally the joint says, “Enough!” That is why people often hurt themselves doing very trivial things such as bending to pick up a pen (or many pens). Another common cause is a hyperextension injury of the spine, or severe backward bending.

This can happen through fairly trivial activities. It does not have to involve heavy lifting, it is more often caused by awkward movements. Many times, things that you have done a hundred times before.

In cases of facet syndrome, chiropractic treatment helps and can sometimes have a seemingly miraculous effect with almost instant pain relief after one session of chiropractic spinal manipulation.