Lumbar Facet Arthropathy

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Back Conditions

Back Physicians

Michael P. St. Onge
Marc P. Oliveri

Lumbar facet arthropathy, also called facet joint arthritis or facet joint syndrome, refers to lower back pain caused by inflammation of the facet joints that connect one vertebra to another in the spine and the cartilage that lines them.

Facet joints, like many other joints in the body, are susceptible to wear and tear, degeneration and arthritis. When a facet joint becomes irritated, the symptoms will depend on the location of the joint and which soft tissue structures are affected.

The symptoms of lumbar facet arthropathy often vary from mild to severe, and may include:

  • Pain and tenderness at the location of the involved facet joint
  • Lower back pain that radiates to the buttocks and upper thigh area
  • Muscle spasms
  • Difficulty sitting for extended periods
  • Difficulty performing overhead activities
  • A “cracking” sensation when moving the spine

Since there are many causes of neck and back pain, it is important to obtain an accurate diagnosis from your spine specialist at Lancaster Orthopedic Group.

Conservative treatment of lumbar facet arthropathy includes rest, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, back bracing, and facet joint injections directly to the involved joint. If the problem persists and you experience significant pain, surgical intervention, such as joint fusion, may be indicated.

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