What is Facet Joint Dysfunction?
Facet joints are relatively tiny joints which join vertebrae and allow for motion of the spine. Joint dysfunction occurs when a joint becomes fixed and painful; this can happen anywhere in the spine (neck, midback, low back). Generally, you’ll experience reduced range of motion and pain in the region of the joint. Often, muscle spasm or guarding is also present. Additionally, specific pain referral patterns are often found. In certain individuals, joint dysfunction has a propensity to recur.
How is Joint Dysfunction Diagnosed?
Specific orthopedic tests are performed to diagnose joint dysfunction. In addition to these tests, static and motion palpation are utilized; this is when the practitioner uses his/her hands and specific motions to determine if the joint is the pain generator. Joint dysfunction is not seen on X-ray, MRI or CT; however, diagnostic imaging may be ordered to rule out a more serious condition.
What are the Options for Facet Joint Dysfunction?
At Lehigh Valley Chiropractic, the two primary methods utilized for joint dysfunction include manipulation and mobilization; myofascial therapy may also be used to treat the surrounding muscles. Additionally, specific therapeutic exercises for stretching and strengthening are commonly prescribed. Other treatment options not available at Lehigh Valley Chiropractic include facet (joint) injections and pain medication. Speak with your Doctor of Chiropractic if you have any questions regarding the risks and benefits of treatment options.
Typical Treatment Plan for Facet Joint Dysfunction
Expected frequency of care is 3 appointments a week for two weeks. After the 6 sessions, a follow-up examination is performed. Depending on your progress, you will either be released from care or further treatment will be recommended.
- Martínez-Segura R, Fernández-de-las-Peñas C, Ruiz-Sáez M, López-Jiménez C, Rodríguez-Blanco C. Immediate effects on neck pain and active range of motion after a single cervical high-velocity low-amplitude manipulation in subjects presenting with mechanical neck pain: a randomized controlled trial. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2006 Sep;29(7):511
- Guzman J, Haldeman S, Carroll LJ, Carragee EJ, Hurwitz EL, Peloso P, Nordin M, Cassidy JD, Holm LW, Côté P, van der Velde G, Hogg-Johnson S; Clinical practice implications of the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders: from concepts and findings to recommendation. 0Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders. Spine. 2008 Feb 15;33(4 Suppl):S199-213. Review.
- Manchikanti L, Singh V, Falco FJ, Cash KA, Pampati V. Lumbar facet joint nerve blocks in managing chronic facet joint pain: one-year follow-up of a randomized, double-blind controlled trial: Clinical Trial NCT00355914. Pain Physician. 2008 Mar-Apr;11(2):121-32.
- Kirpalani D, Mitra R. Cervical facet joint dysfunction: a review. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008 Apr;89(4):770-4. ReviewFernández-de-Las-Peñas C, Alonso-Blanco C, Cleland JA, Rodríguez-Blanco C, Alburquerque-Sendín F. Changes in pressure pain thresholds over C5-C6 zygapophyseal joint after a cervicothoracic junction manipulation in healthy subjects. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2008 Jun; 31(5):332-7.
Tags: back pain bethlehem