Facet Mediated Pain Syndrome
Cervical facet syndrome is a combination of symptoms involving the neck, head, shoulders and arms. The pain usually will be shooting pain that could go from the neck into the shoulder or into the upper back or to the base of the skull. This pain can be on one side or the other. If you’re experiencing any of these types of pains you could have a problem with one of your facet joints in your neck. This facet type pain will get worse when you try to look down or look up or trying to lean your ear toward your shoulder. All of these movements are either compressing or stretching the joint capsule in the facet joint.
Tests for cervical facet syndrome
The best visual test to see if a facet joint could be causing your neck pain is an MRI. Even though most people in their fourth and fifth decade of life will have some type of structural change around the joints their spine, imaging will help their physician either rule in or rule out the possibility of this type of pain syndrome. Medical specialists can also perform an injection into the facet joint to see if it relieves the pain.
Treatment for neck pain caused by facet syndrome
The first-line treatment should be therapy consisting of heat and deep tissue massage combined with some kind of anti-inflammatory Regiment which could be topical creams or oils at home. Chiropractic and physiotherapy for facet syndrome would include mobilization and stretching of the facet joint along with therapeutic ultrasound. It is good to start off with these therapies to see if the pain responds and if not then move on to more invasive type therapies like cervical facet block injections or possible radiofrequency lesion in at the medial branch of the affected facet joint. These are injection therapies that can be gone over with you by an orthopedist or pain management Doctor.