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Facet Joint Arthritis

Rincon Pain and Spine -  - Pain Management Practice

Rincon Pain and Spine

Pain Management Practice located in Tucson, AZ

The facet joints in your spine can develop arthritis, just like any other joint in your body. When you need help from the pain caused by facet joint arthritis, the team at Rincon Pain and Spine in Tucson, Arizona, has several innovative treatments that may provide long-lasting relief. You can count on their expertise — they have over 72 years of combined experience in treating facet joint arthritis successfully. To request an appointment, call the office nearest you or use the online booking feature today.

Facet Joint Arthritis Q & A

What causes facet joint arthritis?

Facet joints connect your vertebrae, where they contribute to spinal stability and support movement. The bones inside each joint are covered with cartilage, and joints are lined with a synovial membrane that produces a lubricating fluid.

These joints are vulnerable to osteoarthritis as cartilage gradually wears down due to years of daily movement and pressure on your spine. Though less common, the facet joints may develop rheumatoid arthritis — an autoimmune disease that attacks the synovium and causes inflammation.

What symptoms can develop from facet joint arthritis?

Facet joint arthritis causes pain that feels like a dull ache in the area of your spine where arthritis occurs. The pain often spreads to your buttocks or your shoulders and head. It’s also common for the muscles surrounding the arthritic vertebrae to stiffen and spasm, causing intense, localized pain.

As facet joint arthritis progresses, bone spurs develop that press against the spinal nerves. When that happens, your pain increases, and you may feel tingling and pain that radiates into your arms or legs.

How do pain specialists treat facet joint arthritis?

The team at Rincon Pain and Spine specializes in interventional treatments that reduce inflammation and stop nerves from sending pain signals to your brain. When your brain doesn’t get the message, your pain is significantly diminished.

The following are two of the interventional treatments used to treat pain caused by facet joint arthritis:

Facet joint block

A therapeutic facet joint block contains steroids to reduce inflammation and an anesthetic for quick pain relief. Using real-time imaging to see the spine and guide the needle, your doctor injects the medications into the arthritic facet joint.

The anesthesia wears off in about six hours; then, you’ll need to wait for the steroid to take effect. Once the inflammation subsides, your pain relief can last weeks to months. If your pain returns too quickly, you may need another treatment like radiofrequency ablation.

Radiofrequency ablation

Before you have this procedure, your doctor performs a diagnostic nerve block to identify the nerve responsible for your pain. Once the nerve is identified, your doctor uses a specialized needle to deliver radiofrequency energy precisely to the nerve and create a small wound. The wound effectively blocks nerve signals, creating pain relief that may last nine months to two years.

If you develop facet joint arthritis and need effective pain relief, call Rincon Pain and Spine or request an appointment online.