Facet Joint Syndrome Pain Management

Facet joints allow for small twisting, turning, and bending movements between adjacent vertebrae in the spine.  Facet joint syndrome, or osteoarthritis, is most commonly seen in adults over 50 years of age and occurs when facet joints become worn or torn. The wear creates bone spurs and enlarges the joints.  Most people develop it due to the deterioration of the cartilage in the spine over time, but it can also be caused by injury, accident, or overuse.  When you experience chronic pain and/or severe spasms anywhere in your neck or back and it worsens when standing or leaning backwards, you might be suffering from facet joint syndrome or chronic axial back pain. The facet joints can become inflamed and cause pain, soreness, and stiffness.  The facet joints are innervated by a small medial branch nerve that extends from the exiting nerve to the facet joints and into your muscle column in your back. This nerve transmits the sensation of pain from your back to your brain.

Facet joint syndrome may also be known as chronic axial back pain. Common symptoms include:

  • Chronic pain or severe spasms in your neck or back
  • Symptoms that become worse when you stand
  • No pain when leaning forward, but severe pain or spasms when leaning backwards


Millions of Americans suffer daily from the facet joint condition, but many people don’t ever go to the doctor for treatment, because they fear that their only option will be surgery.  Fortunately, there are numerous non-surgical options available at the Spine Institute of North America. Learn more about facet joint injections and other pain management techniques we can use to help you find relief.


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