Facet Syndrome

Facet syndrome affects the facet joints, which are located between each vertebrae. When the cartilage lining can no longer protect the bones from rubbing against one another and causing friction, tenderness, swelling, stiffness, and arthritis can occur. Facet syndrome can develop anywhere along the spine and can occur as a result of the normal aging process, injury, or trauma. Being overweight, overusing the spine in sports or heavy manual labor, having a family history of the condition, and having gout or an infection can increase the risks of developing facet syndrome. Symptoms of facet syndrome include radiating pain that extends from the neck into the shoulders and arms, pain that worsens at the start and end of the day as well as when there is a change in the weather, headaches in the base of the skull, and ringing in the ears. Treatment for facet syndrome typically involves anti-inflammatory medication, heat therapy, postural re-education, physical therapy exercise, and traction. Physical therapy exercises may include ones that strengthen and stretch the back and neck muscles as well as ones that help people suffering from facet syndrome maintain a healthy body weight.