Symptoms Of Facet Joint Pain And Its Treatment

Man With Severe Back Pain
June 3, 2022

Facet joints are tiny joints that provide stability and guide mobility in each spine. These bones link your vertebrae in your spinal cord. The disc acts as a spacer between the vertebrae and supports the motion. Thus, the intervertebral disc and facet joint establish a tripod relationship where one’s damage has an impact on the other. This is known as facet joint syndrome.

Causes Of Facet Joint Dysfunction

The facet joints in your lumbar spine (low back) are the most vulnerable to joint dysfunction because they bear the most weight and are subject to the most strain. Facet joints of the cervical (neck) and thoracic (mid-back) spine, on the other hand, can cause persistent pain.
This facet joint pain most commonly occurs at the L4-L5 site of the lumbar spine. Statistics show that it is responsible for all low back pain complaints ranging from 59.6% to 66.7% in men and women.
It is a type of arthritis that affects the spine’s joints causing severe back and neck pain. Degenerative alterations in the joints between the spine’s bones are the reason behind it. The cartilage within the facet joint might deteriorate and inflate, causing pain signals to be sent to adjacent nerve terminals.
The intervertebral discs are mostly made up of water. Age-related degenerative changes impact hydration, leading to height loss between vertebral bodies. The condition frequently occurs in degenerative spinal illnesses such as declinatory disc disease, spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis), etc.
While this occurs mainly in older generations, younger people can develop this syndrome due to injury or exhaustion. Damage to the facet joint might result in long-term or permanent impairment.


It is most commonly associated with the lumbar spine. Still, it can also affect the cervical and thoracic spine. The type of syndrome one develops entirely depends on the spinal area affected.
  • Cervical Facet Joint Syndrome : It is a kind of osteoarthritis in which the structure of one or more of the vertebral joints breaks down. The upper part of the spine comprises the cervical vertebrae found near the neck. Shoulder and neck pain caused by facet joint disease might limit your range of motion, making it challenging to rotate your head comfortably. Headaches are one of the symptoms caused by damage to the cervical spine.
  • Thoracic Facet Joint Syndrome : Thoracic facet syndrome (also called thoracic facet disease) is a spinal arthritis ailment in which the facet joints of the thoracic (middle) spine degrade and become stiff over time. Pain in the upper back, chest, and arm is commonly caused by thoracic facet joints (in the upper spine).
  • Lumbar Facet Joint Syndrome : Lower back, hip, buttock, and leg pain are common symptoms of lumbar facet joints (in the lower spine). Stiffness and trouble getting up might be caused by inflammation of these joints. The most common symptom is a pain when starting a movement.


It is most commonly associated with the lumbar spine. Still, it can also affect the cervical and thoracic spine. The type of syndrome one develops entirely depends on the spinal area affected.

Facet Joint Pain Treatment – Injection Procedure

A facet joint injection procedure is a reasonably easy and quick operation commonly performed in an office or ambulatory surgical center. Diagnostic injections work by injecting a local anesthetic and anti-inflammatory drug into the area where joint pain is suspected. If your pain is relieved and mobility is returned shortly after injection, your doctor has likely identified the pain point. Thus, you can begin a tailored treatment plan to address it.
Injecting Syringe In Spine Bone Joints
Medial branch blocks and intra-articular injections may be part of your therapy approach to identify facet joint pain. The doctor will determine which injection is most appropriate for you.
Intra Articular injections, which contain a pain-relieving anesthetic and steroids, help relieve back discomfort caused by joint inflammation. On the other hand, medial branch blocks injection work on the branch nerves. These emerge from the facet joints and send painful sensations to the brain.


Fortunately, most cases of facet joint dysfunction can be treated without surgery. Spine surgery is only used to relieve pain in a small percentage of patients. Lumbar fusion is performed by a minimally intrusive method from the front or the back. Diagnostic injections can pinpoint the source of your discomfort. Your doctor can prescribe various non-surgical and minimally invasive facet joint pain treatments to help you manage your pain and regain a healthy range of motion. One can explore more pain relief treatments offered by Painmd that suit each individual’s requirements.