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Facet Joint Disease

Symptoms, Causes, and General Information
Facet Joint Disease is a term used to describe a variety of conditions that effect the joints of the spine that provide flexibility and stability, known as facet joints. Many of these associated conditions stem from arthritis of the facet joints. The conditions can effect both the cervical and lumbar spine. However, 55% of facet related conditions occur in the cervical spine.
 
Facet Syndrome: This condition occurs when the facet joints of the spine become inflamed and begin to exert pressure on the nerve roots of the spine. This pressure causes both localized and radiating pain.
 
Facet Cysts: Also known as Synovial Cysts, this condition arises when the fluid filled sacs of the spine create pressure on the spinal nerves. This is most likely the result of poor circulation around the spinal nerves which causes an inability for the blood around the nerves to properly drain. This lack of drainage causes irritation and inflammation of the nerve.
 
Facet Arthritis: Similar to most arthritic conditions, the cartilage of the facet joints becomes thickened and hardened which can lead to swelling and tenderness. This condition is often worse in the morning and persists throughout the day.
 
Facet Hypertrophy: This condition most often arises as a result of an injury or as part of the body’s natural response to joint degeneration. Over time, in attempt for the body to heal the degeneration, new cartilage will form causing the joint to become enlarged.