Facet syndrome presents with persistent, chronic pain in any region of the spine and is typically more apparent in the morning and at night before going to bed. Facet syndrome will occasionally present with tingling, numbness and weakness into the muscles of the shoulders, arms, buttocks, or legs. Pain is typically progressive and gets worse over the course of a few weeks if left untreated.
Facet joints are found on every vertebra within the spine. Function of the facet joints is to promote movement to the end point of your range of motion without reaching excessive amounts of twisting in the spine. These joints are in constant motion and provide the spine with the stability and flexibility needed to walk, run, twist, bend, sit, and stand. Through time, the joints that are filled with cartilage may degenerate or develop bone spurs. Friction of the bone leads to inflammation, stiffness, and swelling of the joint, which begins the process of arthritis and induces pain.
If you have a family member who has been diagnosed with facet syndrome, be consciously aware as this is a hereditary disorder. Develop a regular exercise program with low to mid-level intensity. Movement during a low to mid-level workout helps lubricate your joints and keep them flexible. Avoid over-stretching the joint capsules and lifting weights outside your comfort level, especially if you're completing over-head weight lifting. Shed the extra pounds. Every pound lost takes a 4-pound load off of your spine. Imagine how good you would feel after losing 10-15 pounds with 40-60 pounds of pressure off your spinal joints! Regular chiropractic adjustments are very important for persons with facet syndrome. Degeneration in the facet joints at the cellular level has been shown to begin after just 4 weeks of immobility. Keeping proper alignment and movement within the joints leads to increased range of motion and decreased pain with the potential for total resolve from pain triggered by facet syndrome.