Facet Joint Syndrome is commonly treated by chiropractors. It is a common cause of back pain and neck pain and associated leg and arm pain as well as headaches. Getting the correct treatment is vital for a good improvement in this often painful condition.
Treatment of Facet Syndrome depends on correctly identifying the cause and addressing it quickly with the right treatment to bring relief and prevent it coming back again. Unfortunately the back pain and neck pain associated with Facet Syndrome tends to be recurrent unless the underlying cause is sorted out.
Chiropractors treatment of Facet Syndrome is directed at the dysfunctional joints causing the pain. If the joints are too stiff and have become locked then treatment is provided to unlock them. This is done manually using a gentle but precise manipulation of the exact joint involved in the exact direction it needs to move. These adjustments increase the flexibility of the joint by breaking down the scar tissue or fibrosis and reducing the irritation of the nerves around it. This allows the joint to heal and normal function to return.
Several sessions of treatment are usually required to restore full function to the joints and to allow the muscles and ligaments to heal properly. We will tell you how many sessions are likely which will depend on several factors like how long you have had the problem, (which may be for longer than you have had the pain), your age and activity levels, your occupation and lifestyle, as well as how frequently you are treated. People usually respond best to more frequent sessions initially and then increasing the gap between sessions as you improve. There is some evidence that periodic check-ups may help prevent recurrence too.
Often during an adjustment a pop or click is heard. This is normal and is gas being released from the lubricating fluid into the joint space as it is stretched. It is harmless. Some soreness can occur, especially initially, as the tissues are stretched but the same is true if you stretch or exercise for the first time at a gym.
Sometimes a clicking technique is not used because of the nature of the problem, the joints involved, or because some people just don’t like it! If you have a preference and would like a non-clicking technique then please let us know. We have many different ways of gently correcting these joint problems.
In some people the facet joints become too mobile instead of too stiff. When this happens the joint goes through similar inflammatory and chemical changes. The nerves get irritated in a similar way too so it takes skilled examination and diagnosis to differentiate from the more common form of facet irritation.
Treatment for hypermobile spinal joints is different to treatment for locked joints as you might expect. Gentle exercises are needed to strengthen the supporting muscles of the spine. Subtle stretches or mobilisation can also be used to promote healing changes in the disc and other tissues between the vertebrae. Importantly the area around the hypermobile joints often need to be treated as locking here may cause the excess mobility in the first place.
Other treatments for Facet Syndrome such as destroying the nerve in the joint with radio waves, steroid injections, heat or ice and lumbar belts have not shown to be widely effective although like most treatments they help some people some of the time.
So chiropractic treatemtent of Facet Joint Syndrome is safe, gentle and effective. Different techniques are used depending on the exact diagnosis of the problem which requires skilful chiropractic examination to find out what will work best.
Facet Joint Syndrome