Facet syndrome, also called facet joint sprain or facet joint syndrome is a common cause of back pain. There are many treatments that are used, but most mainstream medical treatments involve pain medication which can have undesirable side effects and may even lead to addiction.
Chiropractic is a proven, reliable treatment for relieving the pain and discomfort of facet syndrome. It helps restore mobility and flexibility while providing pain relief. Some patient notice significant relief from the pain and inflammation of this condition with chiropractic treatment and it is often recommended to facet syndrome patients.
What is facet syndrome?
Facet syndrome is the result of an injury to the facet joints. Zygapophyseal joints, or facet joints reside at the posterior of the spine. At each level there are two joints, one on each side of the spine.
The facet joints are enclosed in a joint capsule. They are synovial joints so the capsule contains synovial fluid. The surface of the joints is covered with hyaline cartilage.
Other joints, such as the ankle, contain this type of cartilage covering. These joints are constructed in this way due to their role in the body – to control excessive or extensive movement. This would include hyper extension and rotation. By doing so they help to stabilize the spine.
Facet syndrome occurs when there is an injury to the facet joints. There are numerous causes, but basically, it is a sprain that is brought about by excessive movement.
This damages the joint capsule and the result is inflammation, swelling, and pain. The pain triggers a protective mechanism in the spine called a reactive muscle spasm which causes great difficulty in moving comfortable and severe, sudden pain.
It is difficult to rest the back because of its integral function in supporting the entire body. A severe sprain can take weeks to heal, typically 2 to 6 weeks. This means that the pain and lack of mobility is impacting you on a daily basis. It can be very difficult to pursue day to day activities and enjoy your typical lifestyle.
Chiropractic for facet syndrome
Chiropractic care is a proven, effective treatment for facet syndrome. When you visit your chiropractor, he or she will conduct a physical exam, discuss your medical history, and may send you for diagnostic tests like x-rays and MRIs. Once they have a clear picture of your condition and a facet syndrome diagnosis has been confirmed, they will discuss with you a recommended course of treatment that may include:
- Exercise – they will recommend specific exercises to help relieve the pain and strengthen the muscles in the back so that they can better support the spine.
- Posture – posture is extremely important in spinal health and overall wellness. Your chiropractor will help you achieve good, healthy posture and give you exercises to do at home to help you maintain good posture and retrain your body to have better posture.
- Heat or cold therapy – heat wraps and hot showers or ice packs and cold pad applications may be recommended to help control pain.
- Changes in activities – you may be advised to take frequent breaks if you sit at a desk all day or to shorten your commute. There may be some activities that you won’t be able to do for a while – or won’t be able to do for long periods of time until your back heals.
- Chiropractic treatment – spinal manipulation is the most common chiropractic treatment for facet syndrome. Your chiropractor may include other types of treatments though, depending on your specific condition and lifestyle.
Chiropractic is a safe, effective, non-invasive, and drug free way to treat facet syndrome, relieve back pain, and help you regain your mobility. Talk to your chiropractor about your treatment options for facet syndrome.