While most people think of the knee, fingers, wrists, and elbows when they think of joint pain, the facet joints may also cause serious discomfort.
While there’s no doubt that joint pains caused by arthritis and other issues are common problems, many people don’t realize that back pain is often caused by facet joint pain. In fact, many people assume that they have a herniated disc or other issue when they actually suffer from issues related to the facet joints. Learning more about what these joints are and what kind of problems they can cause is important.
Basically, the facet joints are located within your spine. They’re synovial joints and are responsible for helping to support the weight placed on the spine and help manage the movements of the individual vertebrae. The pain caused by issues related to them includes things like inflammation caused by overuse or irritation as well as by nerve impingement triggered by similar problems. There are several different symptoms that may be caused by facet joint issues. These include things like.
- Muscle spasms
- Pain in the lower back
- Pain radiating down the back of the leg or into the shoulders or upper back
- More discomfort when leaning backwards than when leaning forward
Most patients actually believe that they are suffering from herniated discs or pinched nerves when they develop this type of pain due to the similarity of the symptoms. While a doctor may make a diagnosis without running expensive tests, if the issue continues to occur for an extended period of time an X-Ray or CT scan may be needed to determine exactly what the issue is and how one can overcome it.
In terms of treatment, the primary solution most doctors offer will be rest combined with cold therapy or hot packs. Which one is used will usually depend upon which of the two works the best for the patient. It’s also important to stay mobile even if it’s only with gentle, easy movements after a day of rest. Lying on your back for long periods of time will only make the problem worse. Other treatment options include massage, acupuncture, various stretching exercises, and more.
Facet joint pain can cause a number of serious issues to occur and may make one think they have an even more serious condition than they really do. But with the right diagnosis and some basic steps you can easily find relief from your pain.
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