If your neck and back ache, you may want to visit a chiropractor to rule out any underlying issues. You might assume that there is an issue with a vertebrae or disc, but some people have neck and back pain due to facet joint syndrome. Read on to learn more about this condition and how to treat it.
What Is Facet Joint Syndrome?
The facet joints have a tripod-like relationship with your vertebrae and discs. They link the vertebrae bones while allowing the spine to bend. The facets are lined with cartilage and lubricated by synovial fluid so that they glide easily and prevent over-twisting of the spine. However, if these facet joints experience any kind of degenerative changes, you can develop facet joint syndrome. This syndrome causes the cartilage inside the joint to break down, become inflamed, and send pain signals to nearby nerve endings.
What Causes It?
While facet joint syndrome can be associated with arthritis and other similar conditions, it can have many possible causes. As a person ages, their facet joints tend to break down since the spinal column supports a lot of weight and everyday wear and tear. If you play sports or work in a physically demanding field, you could be prone to this syndrome. Conversely, a sedentary lifestyle and poor posture can also lead to facet joint syndrome—especially if a person is overweight or obese. Lastly, trauma, like a hard fall or whiplash, can also cause facet joint syndrome in some people.
How Can a Chiropractor Help?
Your chiropractor will want to rule out other causes of your neck and back pain, so they may go over your health history and take x-rays to diagnose facet joint syndrome.
If you do have facet joint syndrome, your treatment may depend on its root cause. For example, if your condition is caused by overexertion, then icing, rest, and over-the-counter medication may be enough to halt its progression. If you were in an accident, your chiropractor may prescribe a brace to help support damage tissues. If the facet joint syndrome is caused by a sedentary lifestyle, your chiropractor can provide nutritional supplements and help you develop a good exercise/stretching routine.
If your pain is mainly in your neck, you might want to undergo chiropractic adjustments. One study found that both chiropractic adjustments and low-level laser therapy could also be beneficial for people with cervical facet joint syndrome. Lastly, if you are in severe pain, your chiropractor might recommend steroid injections to treat the issue.
Reach out to a chiropractor in your area today to learn more about chiropractic treatments for this problem.