PTD0515_BackDo you feel as if you need to turn your entire body in order to look sideways? Do you wake up with pain at the base of your head and in your upper back, pain that only gets worse after long car rides or working at a desk all day? Is there an unexplained ringing in your ears? These are all symptoms of facet syndrome, a condition affecting the small joints connecting one vertebra to the next. These facet joints give you the ability to twist, walk, bend, sit and more.

In facet syndrome (which can also affect the middle and lower back), the cartilage cushioning these joints degenerates, causing friction between the bones that leads to inflammation and swelling. Normally seen in adults over the age of 50, the condition sometimes affects younger individuals due to overuse, bad posture or traumatic injuries such as whiplash. No matter what the cause, facet syndrome can cause chronic pain while affecting your flexibility and mobility.

The first step on the road to relief is to get a proper diagnosis. It can be difficult to distinguish the source of pain in the neck and back, and other conditions can cause similar symptoms. To ensure that it is facet syndrome causing your pain, your physician may try a technique called facet joint injection, using a special type of x-ray to visualize the joints of the spine and then injecting them with anti-inflammatory medication. If your pain immediately disappears, then facet syndrome is the problem. As a bonus, this test also provides much-needed relief for your discomfort.

After your facet pain is diagnosed, we can work with you to design a gentle isometric program that will strengthen the muscles in your spine to compensate for the joint degeneration and damage. We will work on increasing flexibility and relieving pain, making sure your posture and movements are not exacerbating the condition. Along with heat, massage and other modalities, we can greatly improve your range of motion and comfort level.

If you have facet syndrome, call for an appointment. A combination of treatment prescribed by your physician and physical therapist should bring you relief. You might call it a multifaceted approach to facet syndrome.

May PTEDigest Includes:

Get Hip (and Knee) to Total Joint Replacement Surgery
A Multifaceted Approach to Facet Syndrome
Artificial Cervical Disc: An Alternative to Spinal Fusion
Rehabbing a Torn Medial Collateral Ligament
Managing Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Download PTD May 2015