As is the case with every unique structure of the spine, facet joints play an indispensible role in our very human pursuit of movement.
These structures are the stabilizing joints located between and behind each vertebra that guide and regulate vertebral articulation. They prevent the spine from rotating or extending to an extreme that would cause damage. The joint is encapsulated by synovial fluid and the surface is covered by a layer of cartilage that allows the associated vertebrae to move smoothly against each other without grinding and wearing down.
Facet Joint Syndrome is a catchphrase to describe what happens when this joint capsule is damaged: trauma from tribulations or wear and tear from repetitive activity triggers a breaking point, causing the facet joints to swell and inflame, causing pain. This situation is frequently accompanied by unwelcome muscle spasms. Depending on the location of the damage, pain can be referred to other parts of the body: for example, a damaged cervical facet joint can refer pain across the neck, shoulders and down into the arms.
The nature of a facet joint injury is analogous to a sprained ankle. To this end, the body is attempting to heal itself and you can help with a regimen of initial rest and ice followed by a gentle reintroduction to movement. Chiropractic adjustment works to stop the painful muscle spasms in the meantime. We then introduce strengthening exercises and stretches to improve the stability of the spine, a preventative measure against future injury.
Whenever you are in motion, so are your facet joints: it is no surprise when years of movement degrade the structures of the spine.
Call our office in Hackensack at (201) 342-6111 today and find out how your facet joint pain can be reduced with chiropractic treatment.
Dr. Albert Stabile, D.C., C.C.P.C.P., F.I.C.C.