The facet joints of the spine, located in the back portion of the vertebrae, provide stability and control to the motion of the spine. While little movement takes place between individual facet joints, the complete chain of facet joints contribute to a significant amount of mobility in the spine. When these facet joints are injured, inflamed, or begin to deteriorate, patients can experience mild to extreme discomfort. This condition, when occurring in the facet joints of the neck, is often called cervical facet joint syndrome.
Cervical facet joint syndrome has a number of potential causes, such as repetitive movement, trauma, or arthritic changes. It often develops after trauma to the spine, in cases where there is a direct spinal injury. It can also occur as a secondary condition for patients also suffering from degenerative disc disease. When the vertebral disc is damaged or loses cushioning, the facet joint is allowed less space to move, and can result in joint degeneration. Another common factor contributing to the development of cervical facet joint syndrome is poor posture. The natural curve of the neck, referred to as the cervical lordosis, is designed to handle only a certain amount of sustained stress. When this curve is exaggerated, excessive stress can be placed on the facet joints, causing inflammation or degeneration.
In most cases, cervical facet joint syndrome can be treated through non-surgical methods. Often, patients suffering from cervical facet joint syndrome can find relief with the help of a pain management specialist. The physicians at Segura Neuroscience & Pain Center are trained in the use of specialized pain management treatments.