Facet joint syndrome is a common cause of back and neck pain. It is caused by wear and tear on a joint or joints between your vertebrae (small bones that make up your spine).
Facet joints link the vertebrae (small back bones) together in your spine. These joints stabilize the spine and allow you to bend and twist.
Like any joints in your body, facet joints can start to weaken, causing pain. This can be caused by an injury or by everyday wear and tear. When the facet joints weaken, the condition is known as facet joint syndrome. Another term for facet joint syndrome is osteoarthritis. Facet joint syndrome can cause pain and even disability for some people.
Common symptoms of facet joint syndrome include:
- Back or neck pain
- Numbness in your hands or feet
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty twisting and bending
The natural aging process often causes facet joint syndrome. Other causes may include:
- Degeneration of facet joints
Treatment will depend on several factors including your age and the severity of your symptoms. Treatment options may include:
- Physical therapy
- Spinal injections
As you get older, your facet joints will naturally break down. It is part of the aging process. While you can’t prevent this process, there are things you can do slow the progression.
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid injury to neck and back
- Maintain a healthy weight
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