Facet Joint Dysfunction
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.
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