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Facet Syndrome

Facet syndrome is a condition in which the joints in the spine become swollen and cause pain. Facet joints connect the vertebrae in the spinal column together and allow nerves to pass through them, from the spinal cord to the arms, legs, and other parts of the body.

These joints also support the spine’s ability to bend and twist within safe limits. They contain cartilage and lubricating joint fluid, and are lined with synovium.

Signs and Symptoms of Facet Syndrome

Patients with swollen joints may experience the following symptoms:
Woman with pain from facet syndrome
Woman with pain from facet syndrome
  • Pain

  • Stiffness

  • Headache

  • Tenderness to the touch

  • The need to walk hunched over

  • Difficulty moving the head

  • Difficulty standing up straight or getting out of a chair

  • Needing to turn the whole body to look to the left or right

  • Feeling of grinding or grating in the joints during movement

Facet syndrome may also cause localized, referred, or radiating pain. 


  • Localized pain. A dull ache in the lower back. 

  • Referred pain. The source of pain extends to pain in other parts of the body, such as the buttocks, hips, thighs, knees, abdomen, or pelvis. 

  • Radiating pain. A sharp, shooting pain that also causes muscle weakness and fatigue.

Causes of Facet Syndrome

Aging individuals are at increased risk of developing facet syndrome. However, arthritis or an injury or overuse of the joints in younger years may be the initial cause.

Another potential cause of facet syndrome is spondylolisthesis, a condition in which one vertebra slips forward over the lower vertebrae.

Mature Backache Exam

Treatment Options for Facet Syndrome

The right treatment for facet syndrome will depend on the severity of the patient’s symptoms and their unique condition. Staff at Las Vegas Primary Care may treat patients with joint and soft tissue injections, pain management therapy, and occupational medicine.

Pain management therapy may include hot and cold therapy, massage, acupuncture, cognitive behavior therapy, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, opioids, antidepressants, beta-blockers, yoga, and tai chi.

Joint and soft tissue injections may also help alleviate pain from facet syndrome. Injections offered to patients at Las Vegas Primary Care include epidural injections and facet blocks. Patients should speak to their physician to find out if they may experience pain relief from a joint and soft tissue injections.

Some cases of facet syndrome interfere with daily life and impair a patient’s ability to perform job duties. In these cases, occupational medicine specialists could help the patient adjust to the demands of the workplace as they pursue treatment for facet syndrome.

Staff at Las Vegas Primary Care are also available to help employers adapt the workplace to the limitations of employees diagnosed with facet syndrome. Occupational medicine can help both employers and injured employees create a plan for operating in the work environment.

Advanced Treatment For Facet Joint Syndrome

Some patients may need advanced treatment for facet syndrome. Advanced treatment may include physical therapy, chiropractic adjustment, and even surgery. Patients are encouraged to speak to their physician at Las Vegas Primary Care to learn more about obtaining advanced treatment for facet syndrome.


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9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


call us to schedule
an appointment at


we provide
emergency services