Diagnosis and Treatment of Facet Joint Injuries
Facet Joint injuries are injuries to the small supporting joints in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. They can be injured as part of a motor vehicle accident or fall. The direct trauma to the spine during these injuries can dislocate, fracture or inflame the joint and bones that make up this delicate joint. Facet joint injuries make up one of the more common causes of chronic and disabling back and neck pain. Patients with facet joint injuries tend to have significant pain even though it is rare to have involvement of the spinal nerves.
Diagnosing a facet joint injury can be complicated because the symptoms are so similar to the symptoms seen in a herniated disc, a bony fracture, torn muscles or ligaments of the spine or even an infection of the spine. Even intra-abdominal injuries can mimic lumbar facet joint injuries. In the cervical area, injuries to the deep anterior portion of the neck can feel like facet joint dysfunction. Acute injuries to the facet joints can be superimposed upon chronic arthritic changes in the facet joints.