What Are Facet Joints?:
The facet joints and disc space form a three joint complex near each vertebrae. A facet joint has two bony surfaces with cartilage between them and a capsule of ligaments surrounding it. Synovial fluid lubricates the joints as is the case with any joint.
What Is Facet Arthropathy?:
What Can Cause Facet Arthropathy?:
- wear and tear (decreases space between vertebrae causing facet joints to rub together)
- previous back injury
- torn ligaments
- disc problems
Due to the additional stress caused by these circumstances on the facet joints, bone spurs can develop and cartilage can deteriorate.
Who Can Develop Facet Arthropathy?:
What Are the Symptoms of Facet Arthropathy?:
How Is Facet Arthropathy Diagnosed?:
How Is Facet Arthropathy Treated Conservatively?:
Some oral medication may be prescribed including:
Other treatment options include:
- strengthening and aerobic exercise
- water therapy
- spinal manipulation
What Aggressive Treatments May Help Facet Arthropathy?:
- injections of an anesthetic or steroid medicine into the facet joint or nerves that go to the facet joint may be tried
- sinu-vertebral nerve ablation which destroys nerves with electrical current may be an option
- surgery is rarely required for facet arthropathy but options do exist
What Surgical Options Exist for Facet Arthropathy?:
- Facet rhizotomy - sever one of the nerves going to facet joint
- Fusion - fuse two or more vertebrae to eliminate movement in facet joints (sometimes facet joints are removed during spinal fusion)
A Patient's Guide to Lumbar Facet Joint Arthritis. Montana Spine Center.
Facet Arthritis. arthritis-treatment-and-relief.com.
Facet Arthropathy. back.com.
Facet Joint Arthritis. spine-health.com.