Each section of the spine has two facet joints that support and limit the spine’s motion. When someone experiences pain in the facet joints, typically caused by injury or degenerative changes in the spine (arthritis), this is called “facet syndrome.” Injury can occur due to one-time trauma, like whiplash, or repetitive strain placed on the facet joints through posture and during everyday activities. Patients can experience pain, soreness, or stiffness in the cervical spine (neck, shoulders, upper and mid-back), thoracic spine (mid-back near affected joints), and lumbar spine (lower back, buttocks, hips, groin, and thighs) due to inflammation in the affected facet joints.

Lifting a heavy barbell
Repetitive strain can stress the facet joints of the spine.

Treatment approaches for facet syndrome can range from conservative (anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxers, and physical therapy), to steroid injections and other more invasive approaches for severe cases (surgical procedures or the use of heat to block nerve roots and relieve pain).

Back to Spinal Conditions

MedStar Washington Hospital Center Again Named Among Nation’s Best Hospitals for Heart Care

Washington, D.C. – Once again, MedStar Washington Hospital Center has been recognized among the nation’s top cardiac centers in the 2021-22 U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospitals” rankings. Its Cardiology and Heart Surgery program climbed to No. 30, up seven from last year’s survey. It is the only nationally recognized heart program of its kind in the Washington region. MedStar Washington also received the highest rating possible in aortic valve surgery, heart attack, heart bypass surgery, heart failure, and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).

U.S. News evaluated more than 4,750 medical centers nationwide in 15 specialties and 17 procedures and conditions. In the 15 specialty areas, 175 hospitals were ranked in at least one specialty.

“Our continuing and ascending stature amongst the best regarded cardiovascular centers in the country is a tribute to the tireless teamwork and dedication of our physicians and associates who strive to put the principle of keeping patients at the heart of everything they do,” said Stuart F. Seides, MD, physician executive director of the MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute. “And to all those patients and their physicians who entrust us with their care, we offer our most sincere gratitude.”

MedStar Washington Hospital Center, home to MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute, has one of the highest-volume cardiac programs in the nation. It integrates the cardiovascular programs and services of all 10 MedStar Health hospitals and outpatient practices in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Its clinical and research alliance with Cleveland Clinic Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute, again ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News, has continued to flourish since 2013.

U.S. News also cited MedStar Washington’s Urology program as high-performing. Six other common procedures and conditions, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), colon cancer surgery, diabetes, kidney failure, pneumonia, and stroke, received the highest ratings, too. "High Performing" is the highest rating U.S. News awards for these types of care that were significantly better than the national average, as measured by factors such as patient outcomes.

 The complete rankings are available at https://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings.


MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a not-for-profit, 912-bed, teaching and research hospital in the nation’s capital, and is a major referral center for treating the region’s most complex cases. Its cardiology program is highly acclaimed, and its cardiac surgery program has consistently earned the highest national rating–three stars–from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. MedStar Washington operates the region’s first Comprehensive Stroke Center and the District’s only Cardiac Ventricular Assist Device program, both certified by The Joint Commission. The hospital is also home to MedSTAR, a nationally verified level I trauma center with a state-of-the-art fleet of helicopters and ambulances, and also operates the region’s only adult Burn Center.

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So Young Pak
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