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).

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