What are the most common symptoms of Facet Joint Disease?

 

The most commonly reported symptoms of facet joint disease are back pain, stiffness, and sometimes inflammation. Various problems can affect the facet joints, and many cases are asymptomatic. Sometimes the pain will radiate away from the back and into the upper legs, hips, and buttock regions. Lower back pain is more common, although this condition can occur in any area of ​​the spine.

The facet joints are the areas of cartilage found between each vertebra. As the body ages, this cartilage can wear out as a natural part of aging. Sometimes arthritis can occur. It is the most common form of disease affecting the facet joints. It is most commonly noticed in the mid-lower back, and pain and stiffness are the most commonly reported symptoms of facet joint disease.

The pain can range from mild to severe, depending on the cause. Arthritis pain varies in severity, but sometimes, a nerve can be pinched when the facet joints are worn. It can lead to more severe pain.

There are debates within the medical community as to whether facet joint disease is a condition in and of itself or whether it is the side effect of other ailments. Facet joint degeneration comes naturally with aging, but those who experience such symptoms earlier in life may have an underlying condition. Many spinal problems are diagnosed or misdiagnosed as facet joint diseases. It is also a general term used to describe back pain with no known cause.

The treatments for this condition are similar to those used in other back conditions. Medicines are often used to relieve pain and stiffness. Acupuncture, acupressure, and chiropractic care are also commonly used to relieve discomfort. Surgery is sometimes used as a last resort. It is most commonly used in those with pinched nerve pain.

There are no specific prevention methods for facet joint disease. Maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise are important for overall spine health. Practicing good posture is also a good idea. Many joint conditions are inherited and may not be completely prevented in those with a family history of back pain. Symptoms can often be reduced with early pain treatment techniques.

 

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What are Facet Joint Injections?

 

Facet joint shots or injections are steroid injections into the facet joints of the spine. The articular facets of the spine provide stability along the various regions of the spine, including the lumbar and cervical areas. When a patient is suffering from arthritis, stress, or facet joint injury, a facet joint injection can help relieve pain.

Doctors use a facet joint injection to accomplish several goals. First, a numbing agent injected into the joint can help confirm that a specific facet joint is a reason for the ongoing pain. Second, in addition to the numbing agent, the injection also contains a steroid, often cortisone. Cortisone will reduce inflammation and help with long-term pain relief.

Most patients will not need general anesthesia for the procedure. Still, a certain amount of intravenous sedation can help reduce the stress and discomfort associated with the procedure. A local anesthetic is also used to help the patient tolerate the procedure. A local anesthetic will numb the skin and tissues surrounding the actual facet joint injection site.

Precautions are taken during the facet joint injection procedure. These precautions ensure that patients remain as comfortable as possible and can tolerate the procedure. Precautions include monitoring blood pressure, using an ECG machine, and using an antiseptic at the injection site. An X-ray will also be used to ensure that the correct joint is being treated.

After the procedure, a patient may notice several things. First, the numbing agent can lead to initial pain relief. As the numbing agent wears off, the pain may increase for the first two to three days before cortisone has a chance to kick in and relieve pain in the long term. During this time, patients may find that applying ice to the area helps relieve pain.

Immediately following a facet joint injection, a patient must take several steps to ensure safety. Patients will require a ride home from the procedure. Additionally, patients must reduce their activity levels during the day of the procedure. Patients can return to work the next day. Exercise can be resumed gradually over the course of a few weeks to ensure that the pain stays at bay.

The facet joint injections may need to be repeated. Up to three injections can be given over a six-month period. Patients who do not experience pain relief after a series of three injections are unlikely to experience pain relief from using additional facet joint injections. Serious side effects are rare with facet joint injections.

 

Do not wait to begin the conversation for your mobility issues or back pain relief. Dr. Munish Lal  will assist you in solving your frequent concerns and help you master how to enhance the health of your spine for optimal wellness. Right at the heart of Torrance, CA, pain care is just a call away.

 

CALL 424-360-0155