Facet joint disease, often simply referred to as facet syndrome, is a condition that affects the facet joints as we age. When the cartilage in the facet joint begins to deteriorate the body tries to heal the instability by growing more bone. These bony growths are called bone spurs or osteophytes.
When bending or flexing it is these arthritic joint conditions that cause pain. Although it is the facet joint that is affected in facet syndrome, nearby muscles may also go into spasm as they try to compensate for the motion restrictions.
Facet Syndrome Symptoms
Pain from lumbar and cervical facet joint disease comes and goes without warning. The pain will flare up anywhere from 1 to 2 times a month to a few times a year.
Some symptoms of facet joint disease are:
Tenderness at the point of injury
Loss of flexibility
Increased pain and discomfort while bending backwards
In the lower back pain can radiate into the buttocks and down the back of the thigh. Facet joint disease in the neck will cause pain locally and to radiate into the shoulders.