Facet syndrome is a type of low back pain that results from the misalgnment the facet joints. The facet joints (also called zygapophysial joints) create an interlocking effect that prevents a vertebra from moving over the one below it. Depending on the region of the spine, the facet joints also enable varying degrees of movement in different directions. In the lumbar spine, they are oriented vertically, allowing for mostly forward / backward movements, and to a smaller extent, side-bending and rotation.
What are the causes of facet syndrome?
Facet syndrome is caused by the displacement of the facet joint, which pinches the joint capsule and triggers pain. This may happen when turning the low back sideways in the bent forward position, or turning and arching the back too quickly.
Symptoms of facet syndrome in the lumbar spine include well-localized pain at the involved spinal segment, with some pain referral to the hip / buttock or back of the leg above the knee. Facet involvement can be distinguished from sciatic pain by the absence of any signs of nerve irritation or deficits such as numbness, tingling, and/or muscle weakness.
What is the chiropractic treatment approach for facet syndrome?
Facet syndrome is generally responsive to spinal manipulation. It can free the entrapped joint capsule and induce reflex muscle relaxation. The joint is said to be “unlocked” and its normal range of motion is restored.
* A proper diagnosis has to be obtained for all of the above conditions before an appropriate combination of treatments will be provided. This is just a list of possible treatments for the individual condition but not all of them may be necessary, nor is it limited to those listed only.
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