Facet Joint Syndrome
- If you are dealing with facet joint syndrome, you are not alone. Facet joint disorders account for a large portion of the recurring and painful back and neck problems Americans have. The pain that facet joint syndrome sufferers experience can be debilitating. It can affect your quality of life and change the way that you relate to or interact with others.
We want to assure you that although there are millions of Americans who deal with facet joint syndrome, and although there are millions of Americans whose quality of life has been inhibited by this disorder, there is an alternative to living in pain. We know that you are hurting now, but soon with pain management techniques, you can return to a happy, healthy, active lifestyle.
Challenges Diagnosing Facet Joint Syndrome
One of the biggest challenges that facet joint syndrome sufferers experience is getting an accurate diagnosis that allows them to address their pain. This is a challenge because facet joint syndrome can produce symptoms that imitate those caused by a herniated disc, a fracture, a torn muscle, or a spinal infection.
Symptoms of Facet Joint Problems
Since facet joint syndrome can be experienced anywhere from your neck down to your lower spine, the location of the pain that you are experiencing, its intensity, and secondary symptoms will vary from person to person. The following are some symptoms that you may currently be experiencing:
- Pain is worse in the morning or at the end of the day, and it changes in intensity with the weather
- Pain in your lower back, buttocks, thighs, and pelvic area
- Pain in your neck that radiates into your shoulders, arms, and head
- Extreme headaches that start at the bottom of your skull, then engulf your eyes, and is accompanied by ringing in the ears
- Crunching sound of bones rubbing on bones as you move
- Your legs and your arms are weak
- When you stand, your pain either increases or decreases
- If you sit for an extended period, especially driving in the car, your pain gets worse
Do you recognize some if not these symptoms? If so, it is likely that joint facet syndrome is having a negative effect on your life.
How Did This Happen to Me?
This is a very common question for facet joint sufferers to ask, especially if the problem began without an accident or any trauma to the back.
Everyone has the potential to develop facet joint syndrome. The syndrome affects the joints between the vertebrae in the back, which are called the facet joints. These joints are constantly moving. They are what give you the flexibility to do common things like walking, running, sitting down, or twisting.
Your vertebrae move over each other in a smooth, gliding motion because of cartilage. As you get older, that cartilage can wear away. Or you might develop bone spurs. This leads to bone on bone friction. The result is tenderness, swelling, stiffness, and arthritis-like pain.
In most cases, facet joint syndrome develops as a natural part of aging. For some, it develops because of an accident or misuse of their body in youth.
As the facet joint becomes damaged, it will swell. In many cases the inflammation is temporary, but for some the inflammation is long-lasting, leading to chronic pain and disability.
Some factors that lead to facet joint syndrome include:
- Heavy Sports or Heavy Labor
- Family History
- Trauma While Lifting or Twisting Heavy Objects
- Gout, Arthritis, Spinal Infections
It can bring a measure of relief knowing why are dealing with the chronic pain of facet joint syndrome. But knowing why you are in pain does nothing to remove the pain or its effect on your everyday life.
What It Is like to Live with Facet Joint Syndrome
For some, the pain of facet joint syndrome is chronic. It affects their mobility, their ability to work, and the way that they interact with friends and family. One sufferer was quoted as saying, “I have chronic pain. I am not pretending; I am not trying to take advantage of the system to get prescription drugs. I have pain, and my pain is real.”
This individual had a healthy lifestyle. He was a fitness instructor, he did not use drugs, and he did not abuse alcohol. Then, he had a motorcycle accident that changed his life. The active life that he had prior to the accident was gone. He lost his employment, his relationships suffered, and this in turn led to him falling into depression.
Is your story with facet joint syndrome similar? Has your constant pain caused you to lose some part of who you are?
How We Can Help
Over the past few years, we have had the privilege of working hand-in-hand with many individuals suffering from facet joint syndrome. When a new client comes into our clinic, the first thing that we do is listen.
We are keenly interested in hearing about your pain and how your pain has affected your life. We want to know about the treatments you have tried in the past, and we want to hear about your hopes for a pain-free future.
Once we have a good picture of the pain you are experiencing, we get to work devising a short-term and a long-term treatment plan. Our goal is to get you back to living a fulfilling and pain-free life.
We understand that the pain you are experiencing is uniquely yours. For that reason, we do not compare your circumstances to that of others, and we do not create a one-size-fits-all treatment program. Instead, we create a program that is designed just for you.
When you walk out of our clinic after that the initial consultation, you’re going to have a good idea of what our program can do for you, what our goals are for you in the future, and the steps that we are willing to take to help you get back that part of yourself that chronic facet joint syndrome pain has stolen from you.