The spine’s joints are called facet joints or zygapophyseal joints. Facet joints are found in the cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back), and lumbar (low back) spine. These joints allow the spine to flex, extend, and rotate. The medial branch nerve innervates (stimulates) the facet joint. As we age, or secondary to trauma (such as whiplash), the facet joints can be damaged and develop arthritis similar to other body joints.
Facet joint pain can be secondary to neck pain and may radiate (travel) into the posterior (back) aspect of your head, shoulders and upper back where the rhomboid muscles attach your shoulder blades to your spine. While arthritis is commonly detected by x-ray or MRI, the presence of arthritis/facet hypertrophy (increased joint size) does not always mean it is the cause of neck pain.
If you are interested in an evaluation into the cause of your low back pain, or a facet medial nerve block to manage your pain, please contact our pain management experts at The Spine and Pain Institute of New York in Manhattan, New York and Staten Island, New York. We would be happy to make an appointment for a consultation and provide additional information about other treatment options.CONTACT US