The spine is comprised of many facet joints. The design of the facet joint allows for bending and twisting of the back and neck. Additionally, there is a correlation between good facet joint health and body strength, flexibility, and range of motion.
Facet joint injury is the most common cause of neck pain after an accident. Facet joint injury can result in neurological damage. There can be dislocation of the facet joint, accompanied by soft tissue swelling, tearing of a ligament, compression of the nerves, and disruption of blood supply.
Symptoms of Facet Joint Injury
40% of the time there is a delay in the diagnosis of facet joint injury. They are initially diagnosed as soft tissue injuries, because they do not show up on x-rays or MRIs. The 2 sections of the spine that sustain most of the facet joint injuries are the neck and the lower back.
The symptoms of cervical (neck) facet joint injury are:
- neck pain
- upper back pain
- shoulder pain radiating into the arms
- sleep apnea
The symptoms of lumbar (lower back) facet joint injury are:
- low back pain
- pain radiating into the buttocks, hips, thighs, and groin
Common Cases of Facet Joint Injury
Although some facet joint injuries are age-related, most of them are a result of trauma sustained in:
- Car Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Slip and Fall Injuries
Treatment of Facet Joint Injury
Conservative care options are as follows:
- Physical Therapy
- Restraining Collar or Back Brace
- Cervical Traction
Aggressive treatment options are:
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