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Facet Joint Osteoarthritis

Also known as Osteoarthritis, Degenerative Arthritis.

The facet joints are located in the back portion of the spine.  These joints consist of two bony surfaces with cartilage between them and a capsule around it that produces fluid.  Osteoarthritis of the facet joints causes the cartilage to breakdown, in turn resulting in loss of motion, stiffness, and pain.

Symptoms:

  • Neck or back pain.  Pain is often increased with extension of the neck or back, standing or activity.
  • More specifically, low back pain associated with Facet Joint Osteoarthritis is most pronounced first thing in the morning. Throughout the day, normal movement causes fluid to build up in the joint and it becomes better lubricated, which decreases the pain. However, later in the day the pain typically becomes worse again as more stress is applied across the joint.

Tests may include:

  • X-rays
  • CT Scan

Treatment:

  • Pain from Facet Joint Osteoarthritis can be treated with anti-inflammatories, injections, or surgery.

Gallery:

Facet Joint Osteoarthritis

Prepare:

Ask yourself–

  • What are my symptoms?
  • Is there anything I do that makes the pain better?  Is there anything I do that makes the pain worse?

Have your Internist or Referring Physician order imaging of the affected area for you to bring to your appointment.

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