Facet Joint Syndrome
The best diagnosis and treatment of Facet Joint Syndrome is to do a diagnostic facet injection where a numbing medication is injected to relieve pain to the facet joints. If the pain is caused from the facet joint, the pain should resolve or significantly reduce. However, if there is still pain after the injection, then further diagnosis is necessary to determine what is causing the pain and other treatment options may be necessary.
There are different minimally invasive methods to relieve facet joint syndrome. One is by destroying some of the tiny nerve endings serving the joints. This is accomplished by a tip freezing or an electrified hot probe technique known as facet rhizotomy which is performed under careful x-ray control. Or in some cases if the pain is caused by a muscle spasm, a carefully controlled injection of botox toxin may relieve the pain.
In the most severe cases and underlying cause is usually the cause of the facet joint pain. Most common is the degeneration of the adjoining disc. If this is the case, a bone fusion surgery may be required to stop both the associated disc and facet joint problems. Usually surgery is considered a last resort and our experts at SCCNS will evaluate all options to determine if a case is considered severe and episodic to the point where it could ruin the life of a patient in which case surgery may be the best option.
Recurring facet joint syndrome can be minimized with the following:
- Proper exercise with the instruction by a trained physical therapist
- Good posture while standing, sitting, etc.
- Hot/Cold applications may alleviate pain
- Changes in daily activities to minimize risk of irritation to the joints