A facet joint syndrome is a common disorder, one that usually causes lower back pain. The pain is usually localized, which is further emphasized because of a certain feeling of stiffness. People with lumbar facet joint disorder usually feel more pain in the morning, or after going through a period of little to no activity. Simply put, the condition can affect one’s quality of life.
Unfortunately, however, facet joint disorder can be similar to other lower back conditions, making it difficult to diagnose. In the worst cases, however, symptoms end up overlapping, making treatments and diagnosis even more challenging.
To learn more about facet joint syndrome, however, we’ve created this quick guide for you. Here, we talk about the causes and symptoms of the disorder:
What causes facet joint syndrome to occur?
Causes of a facet joint syndrome are varied, and can largely be dependent on the particular area of the spin that has been affected. Facet pain felt in the lower back is usually a cause of aging, where fluid eventually decreases. Keep in mind that as you grow older, all the structures that support your spine eventually wear down.
This is a normal occurrence, especially after years of activity and strain. This very deterioration causes low back pain and can exist alongside other diseases such as spondylosis, degenerative disc disease, and even spondylolisthesis. Trauma is also a common cause, especially whiplash caused by car accidents.
What are the symptoms of a facet joint disorder?
As previously mentioned, the specifics of a facet joint disorder largely depends on the areas affected and the severity of the condition. However, the following signs are almost always present:
- The presence of localised pain, which is usually felt in the lower back
- Radiating pain, which occurs when the spinal nerve is compressed or irritated. This can also mean a sharp and shooting pain, which travels down to the buttock, thigh, and even leg.
- There is tenderness on palpation, where the pain is worsened when the area is gently pressed
- Pain after a certain posture and activity or inactivity, such as prolonged sitting, heavy or strenuous exercise, and even too much driving
- The occurrence of stiffness, which usually due to arthritis. However, stiffness can be further worsened due to facet joint syndrome, especially in the morning after long periods of rest
- The presence of joint clicking and spasms, which can later lead to poor balance. In the worst cases, sensory problems may also be present
The Bottom Line
Facet joint syndrome can cause chronic or recurring pain in various areas of your spine. It can begin on the neck of the lower back, likely due to problems occurring in the discs. Unfortunately, this later radiates to other areas of the body, which includes your limbs. Thankfully, the disorder can be treated in a variety of ways.
Doctors may suggest a diagnostic injection, which is a process that allows them to pinpoint exactly where your pain is coming from. Nonsurgical and minimally invasive methods can also be used, all designed to help you achieve a better range of motion and ultimately, manage your pain better.
If you’re on the hunt for affordable physiotherapy in Bondi, Invigor Health has you covered. We offer you quality care dedicated to fixing your pain and future-proofing your body so that you can remain active and pain-free for the years to come. Book an appointment today!