Facet Disease


Facet Disease

What is it?

Facet joints are the structures that connect the spinal bones together which provides stability and mobility. When the facet joints become inflamed, any action that requires the joint to move causes pain.

May be likely if

Worsening pain when affected area is pressed

The facet joints are actually quite close to the skin surface, so when you push on the area of pain, frequently the pressure from your fingers will transmit to the injured facet joint which causes a temporary increase in pain.

Worsening pain when turning head from side to side

Remember the facet joints are one of the major reasons why your spinal is a mobile structure. If these joints are injured, any turning frequently leads to a temporary worsening of your pain.

Potential Treatments

Facet Steroid Injection

A facet injection is where long acting steroid is injected through a tiny needle into the facet joint and therefore relieve inflammation caused by the injured joint. Remember, the facet joints hold the vertebral bodies together.

Medial Branch Block

First let's talk about the median nerve. The medial nerve is the major nerve that transmits pain from the facet joints to the brain. A medial branch block is where a tiny needle is used inject steroid on top of the medial nerve which significantly reduces inflammation of the nerve which reduces pain.

Radiofrequency Ablation

Again, the medial nerve is the major nerve that transmits pain from the facet joints to the brain. In contrast to a medial branch block where steroids are injected, during a medial branch radiofrequency ablation, heat is delivered to the medial nerve via a tiny needle which completely shuts down the nerve's ability to transmit pain.

Conservative Management

The major conservative means of trying ot decrease pain related to facet disease is to modify activity, carefully use medications to relieve pain, and physical therapy (if tolerated).

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