Facet joint Arthritis

Facet joints, also called zygapophyseal joints, are located at the back of the spine which connects the vertebrae together. There are two joints between each pair of vertebrae located on either side of the spine. The facet joints provide stability for the spine.

Facet joint arthritis also known as facet joint syndrome is a form of arthritis that affects the facet joints of the spine. This condition is related to the ageing process. Facet joints are synovial joints. Normally the facet joints are lined by a cartilage and a membrane of synovium.

Loss of cartilage and synovial fluid in these joints causes friction due to contact between the bones. This results in development of osteophytes or bone spurs on or around the facet joints. Bone spurs are the bony growth formed along the edges of the bones.

Classical symptoms are pain and swelling around the joint. If a cervical joint is affected, the pain is usually felt over the neck radiating to the shoulder. If the joint is in the back, the pain is felt in the lower back that radiates to the buttocks and upper thigh area.

A diagnosis of facet joint arthritis is confirmed by injecting a small amount of a combination of x-ray contrast material, local anaesthesia and corticosteroid into the joint. Relief of pain after the injection confirms the diagnosis of facet joint arthritis.

In most cases, symptoms can be (managed)? controlled by using conservative (line of management)?? treatment such as pain medication, use of braces, exercise, and corticosteroid injections. Surgery may be considered if conservative therapy does not show positive results.

  • Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital

    NHS

    Ashford and St Peter’s
    Hospital
    NHS Foundation Trust
    Guildford Road, Cherstey,
    Surrey, KY16 0PZ.
    Ph: 01932 872 000
  • The BMI Runnymede Hospital

    Private

    The BMI
    Runnymede Hospital
    Guildford Road,
    Ottershaw, CHERTSEY,
    KT16 0RQ.
    Ph: 01932 877800
  • Spire St Anthony’s Hospital

    Private

    Spire St Anthony’s
    Hospital
    801 London Road,
    NORTH CHEAM,
    SM3 9DW.
    Ph: 020 8337 6691
  • Nuffield Health Woking Hospital

    Private

    Nuffield Health
    Woking Hospital
    Shores Road,
    WOKING,
    GU21 4BY.
    Ph: 01483 331257
  • Ramsay Health Ashtead Hospital

    Private

    Ramsay Health
    Ashtead Hospital
    The Warren,
    Ashtead, Surrey.
    KT21 2SB.
    Ph: 01372 221400