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Acute facet joint syndrome

Introduction

The medical condition referred to as facet syndrome injury is not the common cause of back pain, as some people tend to believe. This type of injury involves acute pain which is usually triggered by a sudden movement which causes trauma to the joint. In most cases, this medical condition is chronic and is commonly triggered by some long term changes. More often than not, these changes are associated with another medical condition known as the degenerative disc disease. For those who do not know, facet joints are located at the back of both sides of the spinal column. More precisely, they fill the space between the vertebral bodies and the discs. They are enclosed within a capsule. The main purpose of the facet joints is to provide stability for the spine and minimize any excessive type of movement. The facet joints can get traumatized by excessive sudden movement or get nipped between the two bones. Once the joint gets traumatized, it involves painful sensations, swelling and inflammatory reactions which may last for a couple of days. Chronic instances of facet joint pain may last much longer than just a few days.  They also usually involve degeneration within the joint with eventually may lead to an arthritic type of medical problem.

Facet Syndrome Signs & Symptoms

If a person experiences the facet syndrome he or she usually feels back pain just to one side of the spine, and it commonly gets worsened by bending the spine towards the affected side. The back feels very stiff. Sometimes an MRI or CT scan, as well as X-ray need to be performed in order to diagnose the condition properly.

Facet Syndrome Treatment

Severe cases of facet syndrome need to be treated with postural correction with a chartered physiotherapist. This type of treatment also needs to be accompanied by prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and plenty of rest. Some cases also need to be treated with topical heat packs. Sometimes the therapist has to manipulate the affected joint by performing a controlled type of thrust into spinal rotation. Some cases also may require a back brace which is very efficient in supporting the lower back and providing with reassurance. Chronic types of facet syndrome are much harder to treat. Sometimes the therapist uses long acting local anesthetic and corticosteroid injections in order to relieve the symptoms. Radiofrequency denervation is used as a more lasting type of approach for the pain relief. 

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