Facet Joint Syndrome

Facet Joint Syndrome Overview

The facet joints are the joints that move the spine. Facet joint syndrome occurs when arthritis damages joint bone and cartilage. Early facet joint syndrome treatment reduces symptoms and slows down or stops disease progression. An appointment with a Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates’ (CONA) spine specialist should be made as soon as symptoms present.

Symptoms & Causes

Facet joint syndrome symptoms include:

  • Extremity numbness, tingling, weakness
  • Pain (especially with movement)
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness

Common facet joint syndrome causes include:

  • Age
  • Injury
  • Overuse

Common Treatments:

Nonsurgical treatment options are very effective when an early diagnosis is made. After a thorough evaluation, a CONA shoulder specialist may recommend:

  • Activity modification
  • A brace or soft collar
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapy
  • Weight loss

Minimally invasive spine surgery may be recommended for severe facet joint syndrome cases. Arthritic bone and removed are removed and pinched nerve roots are decompressed during the procedure. Patients recover quickly and live symptom-free lives shortly after surgery.


A CONA specialist:

  • Obtains a complete medical history, which includes medical conditions and previous injuries
  • Performs thorough neurological and physical examinations
  • Orders and analyzes x-rays and an MRI
  • Makes an accurate diagnosis

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