What is Facet Joint Syndrome?
Facet joint syndrome, sometimes referred to as facet disease, is a condition that affects the facet joints as they degenerate from years of wear and tear. The facet joints are part of the connection between two adjacent vertebrae. Because the facet joints are almost constantly in motion, they simply degenerate from wear and tear or repetitive stresses and strains over time as we age. This is why the condition is more commonly found in the elderly.
With age related natural wear and tear of the spine, Facet joint syndrome develops as the spinal discs become thinner, placing more stress on the facet joints. The increased stress causes inflammation and formation of spinal bone spurs leading to arthritis of the facet joint, or facet syndrome. The development of arthritic joints can produce considerable pain and other facet joint symptoms that are felt when the joint is in motion.
As facet disease develops, muscle spasms may occur as protective reflex responses. In conjunction with the development of facet disease, powerful muscle spasms will force the spine out of alignment. Thus, treating facet syndrome will usually involve relaxing the spastic muscles.