Symptoms of Facet Joint Pain

Janice CarsonJanice Carson

Being able to identify the symptoms that accompany facet joint pain could help you find relief from this painful problem.

Back pain is something that affects millions of Americans every single day. And thanks to the rise of use of terms like ‘slipped disc’, most people assume that they know exactly why their back hurts as soon as they feel the first bit of pain. But the fact is that many patients who think they have a herniated disc are actually suffering from a condition known as facet joint pain. This can still be an incredibly painful problem and one that needs attention, but in most cases it’s not quite as serious as slipped discs or some other back problems.

Symptoms of Facet Joint Pain

If you’re suffering from this type of back pain, there are a few key symptoms that you may be suffering from. While they’re similar to some other back conditions, they could be enough to point your doctor in the right direction towards a diagnosis.

Facet join pain usually presents itself as a number of different symptoms. The most common include:

  • Intermittent pain that occurs on a sporadic basis, sometimes multiple times in a month and other times just a few times per year.
  • Muscle spasms are common as well.
  • The pain is greater when the patient leans backwards than when he or she leans forwards.
  • A point of tenderness over the joints that are inflamed.
  • A loss of flexibility within the spinal muscles, often to the point of limiting mobility in a serious way.
  • “Locking up” where a specific movement is made and then the patient suddenly finds that they are in pain and can’t move well.
  • Pain radiating down the back of the legs and buttocks but not below the knee.
  • Pain radiating upwards to the shoulders or upper back but not down the arms.

In most cases the fact that the pain will be restricted to the rear of the legs and won’t reach the feet or the fingers is the key to separating this type of joint pain from herniated discs. Herniated discs usually cause pain or tingling down the limbs.

Obviously, a physician will have to make the final diagnosis as to exactly what type of back pain is occurring in you. But if these symptoms match the problems you’re having, there is a very strong possibility that facet joint pain is the culprit and that you may be able to get relief quickly.

 

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**This is a subjective assessment based on the strength of the available information and our estimation of efficacy.

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