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Intervertebral Facet Joint Injections

Facet joint disorders are some of the most common of all the recurrent, disabling low back and neck problems, and can cause serious symptoms and disability for patients. However, facet joint problems rarely involve the spinal nerves.

Back Conditions that may be Confused with Facet Joint Problems

Interestingly, when the acute lumbar or cervical facet joint inflammation is at its peak, the symptoms may closely imitate those of a herniated disc, a deep infection, a fracture or a torn muscle of the spine, or in the low back, sometimes an acute intra-abdominal problem. Clearly, such episodes can be very disabling and frightening.

On the other hand, serious problems in the abdomen may mimic lumbar facet joint problems and deep anterior neck problems may imitate cervical facet disorders, so a good differential diagnosis must rule out such things.


True arthritis as a source of facet degeneration and pain can also be involved and this possibility should be examined.
To break up a cycle of recurring, acute facet joint pain, a number of treatments can be used successfully. Many of these treatments give some or even a lot of temporary relief but all too often, little long-term help.

There are a number of conservative care treatment options that can be tried to alleviate the pain and rehabilitate the back, such as:

Successful long-term treatment involves proper exercises, with instruction by a trained physical therapist or other healthcare provider.
Good posture (maintaining a normal curvature of the spine such as pulling the car seat quite forward or when standing at a sink, putting one foot up on a ledge, bending that knee a bit), support to the low back when seated or riding in a car (particularly in the acute phase). A very useful posture when standing or sitting is the pelvic tilt - where one pinches together the buttocks and rotates forward the lower pelvis - and holding that position for several seconds, done several times per day.




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