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Cervical Facet Joint Pain – What You Need To Know

Facet jointFacet joint problems are among the most common sources of lower back and neck pain. They can cause debilitating, chronic problems with the neck and back and can lead to other more serious conditions and symptoms that can be disabling.

Cervical facet joint syndrome, or cervical facet osteoarthritis, is a degenerative condition marked by stiffness and pain in the cervical region (neck) of the spine. Patients are able to gain relief from various types of treatment, including chiropractic care.

What is Cervical Facet Joint Pain?

The spine is comprised of a chain of bones known as vertebrae. Each one has two facet joints on the back side and a large disc on the front side. This allows the vertebrae to stack neatly, one on top of the other, providing stabilization for the entire body.

The facet joints are synovial joints, like other joints in the body and sometimes they can become inflamed or injured, causing pain and stiffness. Cervical facet joint pain is, quite literally, a pain in the neck. It means that the joints in the neck area have become injured or inflamed. Pain from this condition can make it difficult for the patient to turn their head from side to side, or to move it up and down.

The cervical facet joints are almost always working. They undergo repetitive, constant motion and over time they can become torn or worn down. Problems within the joint can cause movement to be restricted or it can have too much movement, both of which can cause pain.

Injury, such as whiplash, to the area can also cause problems. If the condition is not treated appropriately, it can be degenerative and the patient can lose both flexibility and mobility, as well as suffer from chronic pain.

Symptoms of Cervical Facet Joint Pain

The symptoms of cervical facet joint pain tend to vary from patient to patient. A patient may experience one or several of these symptoms:

  • Tingling, weakness, or pain in the hand and arm
  • Neck pain
  • Upper back pain that can affect the shoulders
  • Pain between the shoulder blades
  • Headaches, typically located in the back of the head
  • Swelling and tenderness at the site of the inflamed facet joint
  • Decreased range of motion and flexibility in the neck

Treatment for Cervical Facet Joint Pain

When a patient is diagnosed with cervical facet joint pain the treatment is usually fairly conservative. Their doctor may recommend soft tissue massage, physical therapy, and posture correction. This is usually combined with medications such as an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen, or muscle relaxers to ease muscle spasms in the muscles that surround the affected joint.

If those methods do not give the patient relief, the doctor may take a more aggressive approach, prescribing facet joint injections that use steroid medications injected into the affected joint. This approach is intended to keep the pain localized while reducing it. The procedure can be performed in an outpatient setting and has a good record of being effective, but the results are temporary.

Chiropractic for Cervical Facet Joint Pain

Chiropractors have had much success in treating cervical facet joint pain. They are able to manipulate the areas that are affected, restoring painful, restricted facet joints to a point where they are able to move much easier and without pain. Over time, with regular chiropractic treatments, they can help to reestablish a normal range of motion in the neck area for their patients. This is all done without any medications or injections. It is a natural, gently, effective method for relieving the pain and helping the patient enjoy a better quality of life.

How Chiropractic Can Help Your Arthritis

Arthritis Pain and Chiroprcatic
Arthritis can cause uncomfortable joint pain and stiffness. This pain can be managed with conservative Chiropractic care.

Chiropractic excels in treating a wide variety of conditions like arthritis. In today’s article, we’ll explore how chiropractic can help patients who suffer from arthritis and give you additional suggestions on how to alleviate the pain that’s associated with it.

 

What Is Arthritis?

Put simply, arthritis is inflammation or degeneration in the joints which result in joint pain, stiffness and limited range of movement. There are over 200 different varieties of the ailment. While it is generally associated with age, it can also affect young people. It can strike almost any area of the body, with each region having a different cause and name. In some cases, arthritis can cause damage to soft tissues and muscles, like the heart and lungs.

Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative joint disease, is the most common type of arthritis. It results from repeated trauma to the joint and becomes more common in the elderly.

Other common forms of arthritis include:

    • Rheumatoid arthritis, the second most common form in which the body’s immune system attacks the joint.
    • Psoriatic arthritis, another autoimmune form of arthritis.
    • Ankylosing spondylitis, also a type of arthritis where the body attacks itself.
    • Septic arthritis, which is caused by a viral or bacterial infection of the joint.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing arthritis involves a complete and thorough examination. If a chiropractor feels the need to co-manage the case, a medical work-up by a rheumatologist may be recommended. This can include radiology (x-ray) or an MRI, urine and blood analysis and physical examinations.

It is important to have your condition properly diagnosed so you can more effectively treat the symptoms of the disease.

Chiropractors and Arthritis

The most common treatment for arthritis is medication, which can take down the inflammation and swelling and reduce pain. However, chiropractors can be of great help in managing arthritis. While medications work, it has long-term health risks such as impairing healing, damage to the stomach lining and internal bleeding.

By visiting a chiropractor you may be able to reduce your reliance upon these medications while managing your pain and symptoms naturally. A chiropractor can:

    • Improve the range of motion and function of the spine.
    • Improve endurance and flexibility.
    • Increase your strength and muscle tone.
    • Recommend an exercise regimen that’s conducive to arthritis.

Treating the Symptoms

Please understand that chiropractors cannot cure your arthritis. At this time, there is no cure for this ailment. They can, however, help to alleviate the symptoms and slow the progression of the illness. They may use spinal manipulation in conjunction with other treatments to address the disease. These options can include:

    • Hot and cold therapy
    • Massage
    • Electrical Muscle Stimulation
    • Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
    • Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy

The Best Results

With a disease like arthritis, the best results are achieved from attacking it at all angles. This means working with your chiropractor and rheumatologist to combine treatments, if necessary. In addition to their care, a healthy diet and active exercise regime will help move you in the right direction toward a healthier outcome.

If you or a loved one are suffering with arthritis, don’t hesitate to give us a call today. We’re here to help in any way we can!