27 May Facet Syndrome Treatments With Pain Management Doctors San Antonio
Facet joint syndrome is pain that is found in the joint between two vertebrae in your spine. Facet syndrome is another word for osteoarthritis or spinal arthritis. Facet joints, as the name suggest, are the joints in your spine that help make your back flexible and enables you to bend and twist.
These joints keep the body from slipping forward or twisting without limits. Just like the knee joint, they have cartilage that allows smooth movement where the two bones meet. The joints are well lined up with a joint lubricating fluid.
Once these joints are injured, they become swollen and painful. If the joint affected is found in the neck, it causes headache, and the patient may experience difficulty moving the head. If it happens in the back, it may result to pain in the lower back, buttocks or thighs.
As people age, the cartilage starts to wear down slowly, and this may be a major reason for bones spurs to grow. The high amount of friction that is caused by lack cartilage accompanied with increased bone growth results to tenderness, swelling, pain and stiffness. The common risk factors for developing facet syndrome include;
- Overweight or obese
- Normal aging process
- Diseases and conditions such as arthritis, gout, osteoporosis, etc.
- History of family with syndrome
- Overuse due to occupation or sports
- Damage as a result of whiplash or other accidents
What are the Causes of Facet Syndrome?
Facet syndrome is caused by a combination of factors such as injury, aging, and pressure overload of your facet joints. The pressure on your facets is caused by degeneration of intervertebral discs in your spine. The disc begins to degenerate and wear down, and finally they may collapse. This leads to narrowing of the space between each vertebra. The process of narrowing of the space found between each vertebra affects the nature of your facet joints. The result is a lot of pressure on the articular cartilage surface of the facet joint. This sort of pressure leads to damage of the articular surface and no sooner than later the cartilage begins to wear out. Facet joint arthritis may get worse; hence the cartilage and fluid that helps in lubricating the facet joints are eventually destroyed, leaving bones rubbing on other bones. This cause severe pain in the bones.
What are the Symptoms of Facet Syndrome?
Patients with facet syndrome report symptoms such as neck and back pain. They also have difficulty twisting and bending their spine. Facet syndrome in your lumbar spine or low back may make it difficult for you to straighten your back. As this condition develops, pain, numbness and muscle weakness becomes more frequent and intense and can be triggered by the slightest activity. If the nerve affected is the one in your cervical spine, then you may have symptoms in your neck, arms, shoulders, neck and hands.
The most common symptoms of the facet syndrome include;
- Pain in the lower back that may spread to the upper legs, pelvis and buttocks
- Pain mostly in the morning, evening and in case of weather changes
- Severe headaches at the base of the skull
- Decreased inflexibility plus difficulty bending
- Neck pain that stretches into the upper back and shoulders
- Curvature of the spine
- Numbness in legs and arms
- Severe pain after sitting for an extended period of time.
How is Facet Syndrome Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of facet syndrome is a critical process. It starts with the history and physical examination of the patient. Your Pain Doctors San Antonio will suggest other diagnosis tests to accompany the examination. Tests such as X-rays, CT scan, MRI and blood tests may be recommended by the San Antonio pain management doctors to determine whether there are any injuries in your spine. A bone scan can also be incorporated to determine whether there is any inflammation of the facet joints, which are commonly viewed as a hot spot on a bone scan.
What are the Treatment Options for Facet Syndrome?
There are different treatment options available for those suffering from facet syndrome. Once a person is diagnosed with facet joint syndrome, your San Antonio pain management doctors will recommend physical therapy to treat your symptoms. A good rehabilitation program will help calm down the pain and inflammation, thus improving your strength and mobility. This will help you carry on with your daily activities with ease and ability.
Measures such as pain medication, reduced activity, physical therapy, heat treatments, and weight loss are recommended by Pain Doctors San Antonio to reduce the symptoms quickly. Ultrasound and electrostimulation methods are also used to treat muscle spasms. For severe incidences, surgical treatment such as facet joint injections sand radiofrequency ablation are used to eliminate the symptoms for an extended period of time. Nerve blocks combined with anaesthetic injections helps in the treatment of chronic back pain associated with facet joint syndrome.
Well, overall exercises and physical therapy are the best methods to relieve pain in conditions such as facet joint syndrome.
To learn more about treating facet syndrome, contact the San Antonio pain management doctors today.