An In-Depth Look at Facet Joint Syndrome

Follow along as Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation physician, Dr. Neelay Thakkar, gives a comprehensive overview of Facet Joint Syndrome. Dr. Thakkar discusses the causes and symptoms of Facet Joint Syndrome, as well as the treatment options available to help patients get better and back to living their lives with less pain!

When the tiny connective joints of the vertebrae become inflamed or arthritic, the condition is called Facet Joint Syndrome.

What Causes Facet Joint Syndrome? 

  • Arthritis, often from age-related wear and tear
  • Injury
  • Trauma

Modifiable risk factors include:

  • Smoking history
  • Being overweight
  • Participation in certain professions and hobbies


What are the Symptoms of Facet Joint Syndrome? 

  • Pain: Can be a dull pain in the neck or low back or radiating pain in the shoulders, head, buttocks, hips, or thighs
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Weakness


What are Treatment Options for Facet Joint Syndrome?  

There are many treatment options for Facet Joint Syndrome, which range from conservative to interventional spine procedures.

  • Category 1: Conservative treatment options, such as physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care
  • Category 2: Incorporating anti-inflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen are Aleve), muscle relaxers, oral steroids, and over-the-counter creams and patches
  • Category 3: Interventional procedures, such as injections or more commonly, radiofrequency ablation

While Facet Joint Syndrome is a common cause of neck and low back pain, it is not the only condition associated with these symptoms. It is important to have a thorough evaluation so your physician can diagnose your condition and provide treatment options to help you get better and back to enjoying your life with less pain!