Facet Syndrome

Facet Syndrome services offered in Delray Beach, FL

Facet Syndrome

Facet joints exist between each vertebra of the spine. Naturally, our spines incur a large amount of wear and tear over the years, and can also be subject to injury at any point in time. This gradual or immediate damage typically results in limited movement of the spine in addition to chronic pain, which is a condition known as facet joint syndrome. Marcie A. Merson, MD, specializes in treating facet joint syndrome. If you’re experiencing symptoms of facet joint syndrome, schedule your appointment at our office in Delray Beach, Florida, today. Call Palm Beach Pain Institute or request an appointment through our secure online form.

What areas are affected by facet joint syndrome? 

This specific condition can occur anywhere along the spine, though it is primarily found in two areas:

  • The cervical spine (the neck)
  • The thoracic spine (the upper back)

Symptoms will vary slightly depending on the particular location of the individual’s joint damage. If the condition is present in their cervical spine, a person will typically notice pain stemming from the base of the skull and neck, whereas those with thoracic facet syndrome are more likely to feel pain within the lower sections of the spine, which may even extend as far down as the hips and groin.

Pain caused by facet joint syndrome will usually worsen over time and can interfere with a variety of daily activities and simple motions. Individuals with this condition are also likely to experience spasms of the paraspinal muscles, which run along each side of the spine.

How is facet joint syndrome diagnosed?

Due to the vague nature of generalized back pain as a symptom, it can be difficult to accurately diagnose facet joint syndrome without the help of someone who specializes in this sort of spinal condition, such as Dr. Merson.

When you schedule an appointment at Palm Beach Pain Institute, Dr. Merson will begin the diagnostic process by asking many questions about your medical history and family history to determine if any prior conditions or genetics may play a role in your current symptoms. 

Once this process is complete, Dr. Merson will order a diagnostic imaging test such as an MRI or X-ray. The results of these examinations will be able to confirm or deny a case of facet joint syndrome.

What are the treatment options for facet joint syndrome? 

Patients with mild cases of facet joint syndrome can often find significant relief from regularly performing a variety of physical therapy exercises. This non-surgical method is often combined with the administration of anti-inflammatory medications (topically or orally) to help reduce any swelling and irritation of the tissues surrounding the spine.

If these types of non-invasive treatments do not prove effective for the patient, or if the spine has already suffered severe damage as a result of facet joint syndrome, then a procedure called radiofrequency ablation is typically the next step taken to find relief for the patient. During this procedure, Dr. Merson will use a specialized device to heat the nearby nerves and tissues to the point where their pain receptors have dulled enough to reduce the patient’s daily discomforts.

For more information about facet joint syndrome or to begin discussing your treatment options, call Palm Beach Pain Institute or request an appointment online today.