Your cervical spine is located in your neck. When you have cervical facet syndrome, it’s more than just a pain in your neck. It can stop you from participating fully in your life. Furthermore, it’s a chronic pain that doesn’t go away unless it’s treated. When you’re tired of getting injections or popping painkillers that just mask the pain, turn to Dr. Branko Skovrlj at NU-Spine in Edison, NJ. Dr. Skovrlj is a renowned neurosurgeon who performs minimally invasive surgery to stop your cervical facet syndrome neck pain for good. Call today for an appointment.
What Is Cervical Facet Syndrome?
Cervical facet syndrome is a condition that plagues the facet joints of the spine. These joints help you to twist and bend, while simultaneously preventing you from going too far or in the wrong direction. The facet joints act as connectors to the spinal bones, providing additional support and greater flexibility.
When the cartilage between the facet joints become thin and brittle, flakes break off into the synovial joint fluid that aids in movement. Cervical facet joint pain erupts when degeneration of the joint cartilage leads to friction between the bones that have lost cartilage.
To treat this condition, seek an immediate diagnosis from an experienced spine specialist like Dr. Branko Skovrlj in Edison, NJ. Neck-related injuries and degenerative conditions can lead to disability. Dr. Skovrlj is a spine surgeon at NU-Spine, The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute, and he’s amply qualified to alleviate your neck pain.
What Causes Cervical Facet Joint Pain?
Neck pain, whether or not it stems from a neck injury, is the most common medical complaint after back pain. Nearly 55 percent of all facet joint syndrome cases involve the cervical or upper back and neck area of the spine. Only about 10 percent of low back pain sufferers have problems with cervical facet arthropathy or other joint diseases.
Common causes and risk factors of cervical facet joint syndrome include:
- Elderly people are the most often afflicted, due to a lifetime of daily wear and tear.
- Suffering from arthritis. Spondylosis and cervical degenerative joint disease are types of arthritis commonly seen in people with cervical facet pain.
- Trauma from a whiplash injury. Younger people usually develop the cervical facet syndrome due to a serious neck injury, such as from an automobile accident.
- Workplace stress. If your work involves repetitive movements that put stress on your neck or increases the wear and tear of those joints, you’re more apt to get cervical facet syndrome.
What Are the Cervical Facet Pain Symptoms?
There are certain common symptoms associated with cervical pain symptoms. You may have one or two, but not all. Most sufferers complain of symptoms that include:
- Pain when you twist or bend
- Tenderness in your neck and upper torso
- Limited ability to extend or rotate your neck and shoulders
- Radiating pain that extends into your shoulders, upper back or middle back area <Mid-Back – Thoracic>
- Splitting headaches
The symptoms of cervical facet syndrome often overlap with other spinal conditions. That’s why it’s highly recommended that you need to see a neurosurgeon as soon as possible to correctly diagnose your condition. You may be suffering from a related condition, such as:
- Cervical degenerative disc disease
- A disc herniation
- A slipped or bulging disc
- Cervical radiculopathy from a compromised spinal nerve
- Cervical stenosis
How Do You Diagnose My Condition?
Your NU-Spine doctor in Edison, NJ performs a thorough exam of your neck, shoulder and upper back to assess your flexibility and range of motion. He needs to know if you have a co-occurring condition, like diabetes or hypertension, which can interfere with your cervical facet joint treatment. You may undergo other tests to help your doctor rule out other causes or pinpoint cervical facet syndrome as the diagnosis, such as:
- X-rays or CT scans
- An MRI
- A bone density test
To be certain that you have cervical facet syndrome, your surgeon may suggest cervical facet injections as an additional test. The medicated steroid injection is injected into or near the nerves that run through the facet joints. If you get relief from your cervical facet pain, that confirms that you’re suffering from cervical facet syndrome.
What Cervical Facet Joint Syndrome Treatment Works?
The cervical facet joint surgery is usually the last option your spine surgeon recommends. Non-surgical treatments to try may include:
- At-home remedies, such as rest, icing and heating
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Physical therapy
- Cervical facet injections
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections
If the non-surgical procedures don’t provide the long-term pain relief you’re seeking, surgery becomes the best and most appropriate solution. There are several options for minimally invasive spine surgery available, depending on your condition, such as:
- Spinal fusion
- TLIF, which is a fusion procedure using a graft
- XLIF/X-LIF, another specialized fusion procedure
While fusion solutions lead to a loss of full mobility, it eliminates your pain completely and provides enough flexibility to lead a full, productive life. Contact your NJ neurosurgeon at NU-Spine to schedule an evaluation. Don’t live with neck pain when relief is just a phone call away.Page Updated on Jul 9, 2021 by Dr. Branko Skovrlj (Neurosurgeon / Spine surgeon) of NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute in New Jersey