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Facet Joint Syndrome
Facet Syndrome is a condition which develops in the joints between each vertebrae, called Facet Joints. Over time, normal wear and tear, injury or overuse can cause the lining of the facet joints to decline. As these joint are used every day, even when just walking or sitting, once the lining (cartilage) is worn down, rubbing between the joints can cause irritation. This condition is also called Osteoarthritis.
Degenerative Disc Disease can also cause Facet Joint Syndrome. This happens when the discs start to degenerate, the space between the vertebras become smaller, and there is a build up of pressure on the facet joints that can wear away the cartilage. Left untreated, bone spurs can develop which can press on the spinal canal and cause it to narrow – this is called Spinal Stenosis.
Facet Joint Syndrome can affect anywhere along the spine, but usually affects the lumbar region (lower back) or cervical region (neck).
Symptoms of Facet Joint Syndrome
As there are facet joints on each vertebra, the condition can happen anywhere in the spine. Most often, it causes pain at the affected joint area as bone is effectively rubbing on bone. It can also cause restricted movement because the spine can’t move as freely without the cartilage. As the symptoms are similar to many other back conditions, It can be difficult to tell if you have Facet Joint Syndrome. Therefore a professional diagnosis is necessary. Symptoms may include:
- Pain, numbness or muscle weakness in specific areas related to where the affected area is
- Facet joint syndrome in the cervical region can cause pain in the neck or shoulders, and radiating pain can travel into arms and hands. Some people may also get headaches.
- Facet joint syndrome in the lumbar region can cause pain in the lower back or buttocks, and radiating pain can travel into legs and feet.
Facet Joint Syndrome Treatments
As with other forms of arthritis, lowering pain levels is the first step with treatment. This makes helping Facet Joint Syndrome become more manageable. Treatment involving Shockwave therapy and Spinal Remodelling can help bring down the inflammation, and make living with arthritis far more bearable:
- Shockwave therapy helps to break down the scar tissue that can build up around the facet joints, allowing increased blood flow into the area, boosting overall healing and help to improve movement in stiff areas. As movement tends to improve hydration of the joints, shockwave therapy helps the production of joint fluid called synovial fluid, aiming to reduce the wear and tear between the cartilage surfaces of the facet joints.
- Spinal remodeling and rehabilitative exercises can also help by correcting the posture; an incorrect posture can put pressure on certain areas of the spine, which can potentially worsen the condition.
What causes facet joint syndrome?
Facet Joint Syndrome is the inflammation of the facet joints, and is also known as osteoarthritis. It can be caused by a number of things including wear and tear over time, trauma or overuse, and it affects the cartilage (or lining) of the joints between each vertebra (known as facet joints). When pressure is applied to the area, such as from disc degeneration, the lining can wear away causing friction to irritate and inflame the area. As the facet joints are on each vertebra, it can affect anywhere along the spine, including in the neck (cervical facet syndrome), mid-back (thoracic facet syndrome) or lower back (lumbar facet syndrome).
Can facet joint syndrome be treated?
Depending on how bad the damage is, the first important step in treatment is restoring movement to rehydrate the joint. Unfortunately, in more advanced cases, as with any form of arthritis, it may not be possible to get rid of the symptoms completely. However, it can be managed by reducing the inflammation, which can be done using our Shockwave therapy. We can also help make the area healthier by using spinal remodelling and rehabilitative exercises. Spinal decompression is also effective in helping rehydrate the cartilage and lessen the pressure to the facet joints caused by gravity.
What is shockwave therapy?
Shockwave Therapy is a gentle percussive therapy that can be performed directly onto the joints. Shockwave therapy is used to help break down the build-up of scar tissue that can happen with Facet Joint Syndrome. This allows for increased blood flow into the area, helping to reduce the inflammation and reducing stiffness.
What is spinal remodelling?
Spinal Remodelling can help by correcting the spinal position. Correcting the overall posture of the spine lessens the pressure in affected facet joints. This can be done in an effort to prevent the condition from worsening.
How can laser therapy help facet joint syndrome?
In cases of facet joint arthritis, low level laser therapy has been shown to be effective in improving blood flow and tissue reorganisation. Laser therapy can also reduce pain, improve movement, help cartilage heal, boost the overall speed of healing, and encourage formation of new blood vessels.
“I feel much better and fit!”
“I have free movement, less pain and less stiffness.”
“I feel stronger and the pain is gone”