Facet joints located in the back of the spinal column and help the spine to extend in different directions. The joints also restrict excessive movement such as hyperextension and hyper-flexion, such as whiplash. Each vertebra has two sets of facet joints; the superior articular facet faces upward and works like a hinge with the inferior articular facet. Like other joints in the body, each facet joint is surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue and produces synovial fluid to nourish and lubricate the joint. The surfaces of the joint are coated with cartilage that helps each joint to move smoothly. Facet Joint Injections are a treatment that heals minor tears in the joints.
How are Facet Joint Injections Performed?
Facet joint syndrome is the deterioration of the facet joints. This occurs when the facet joints become stressed and damaged from everyday wear and tear, injury to the back or neck or because of degeneration of an inter-vertebral disc. As the cartilage that covers the stressed facet joints gradually deteriorates, the joints becoming swollen and stiff. Without the cartilage, vertebral bones rub directly against each other, which can lead to the growth of bone spurs along the edges of the facet joints.
Symptoms of facet joint syndrome may vary dependent on which region of the spine is damaged. If the upper cervical spine is affected, a person may feel pain in the neck and/or shoulders, or pain in the middle back. It may even result in headaches. If the lower lumbar spine is affected, pain may be felt in the lower back, buttocks and back of the thigh. Facet joint arthritis is first treated conservatively with rest, ice, heat, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy. Also, facet joint blocks may be administered not only to diagnose facet joint pain, but also as a therapeutic procedure to treat the pain. If non-surgical methods fail to relieve pain, a facet rhizotomy or bone fusion may be performed.
If you need an evaluation or consultation or are interested in Facet Joint Injections, please contact us at (201) 729-0001 and ask for one of our specialists. Our conveniently located clinics are in West Orange, Aberdeen, Lyndhurst, and Fort Lee. We offer weekday and weekend appointments.