What Is Facet Joint Dysfunction – Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Back pain is a very troublesome thing to experience, but what if there is more to the pain than meets the eye? Here are some things you need to know if your back pain is getting worse and if you need to visit an orthopedic doctor.

What Is A Facet Joint?

Your back and spine are probably the most intricate and delicate parts of your body. The way that the spine is made is so intriguing and fascinating. The facet joints are very thin long strips of cartilage, which act as points of contact. The facet joints help to stack each backbone or vertebrae on top of each other and below.

The facet joints are also responsible for making the back and the spine extremely flexible and makes you contort in different positions. Without the facet joints, your back would be stiff and you will not be able to bend easily. The cartilages act as a rubber band, making the back and spine super flexible and allowing different movements in it as well.

What Is Facet Joint Dysfunction?

Now that we know what exactly facet joints are, we can go forward with its complications and facet joint dysfunction. Facet joint dysfunction is the tearing of the cartilages which make up the facet joint. The tear or weakening of the cartilages can be due to many reasons, like old age, too much stress on the back, not sitting straight, etc. The facet joints can also become very painful and it can cause a lot of discomfort in your back. You may also find sitting for long, very hard, as your back will not cooperate with you, because of the pain.

How Is Facet Joint Dysfunction Caused?

The main cause of facet joint dysfunction is the wearing of cartilages which stack your backbones on top of each other. This pain is characterized to be quite sharp and unpredictable. The cartilages are too weak to hold the back bones in place, which may cause the back bones to move about a lot and cause pain in the back region. Back pains are already quite painful to deal with, so you shouldn’t wait too long before the pain gets worse and consult with an orthopedic surgeon immediately.

Symptoms Of Facet Joint Dysfunction

Some of the symptoms of facet joint dysfunction are as follows:

  1. You will feel shooting pain in your back, if you have been sitting idle or inactive for too long.
  2. You are unable to move your back. The cartilages are what provide your back with flexibility, so if the cartilages have become weak or have teared, then you won’t be able to move your back as freely as before.
  3. The pain is the worst during the morning hours. The reason why is because you have been inactive for almost 8 to 10 hours. So after suddenly waking up, you will feel stinging pain in your back and your back might also feel stiff.
  4. The pain may also radiate down to your pelvis and legs, which is why you can sometimes feel stinging or numbness in your legs.
  5. If you touch the affected area in your back, then the pain might get intense.
  6. Your posture will be affected as well, since the back plays a very important role in keeping your posture right.

Treatment Options For Facet Joint Dysfunction

Some of the treatments for facet joint dysfunction are as follows:

  1. Heat therapy is used to alleviate the affected area. The heat may help with the soreness and stiffness.
  2. Anti-inflammatory medicine can also work, if you feel a lot of pain in the area that is affected. Normally, once the cartilage is teared, the back bone can move around, which can cause inflammation in the back, so taking these medications will help a lot.
  3. In worse cases, back surgery needs to be done to alleviate the nerve pressure, otherwise it can hurt a lot.

There you have it! If the pain is recurring in your back, then it might have something to do with the facet joints in your spine. You need to get them checked by a back pain specialist Woodbridge immediately if the pain becomes unbearable.

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