In recent years there has been a growing number of diagnoses of specific joint pain that originates from the facet joints. These are the small joints that link the spine together, which when they become inflamed can cause quite debilitating bouts of pain. Just like arthritis attacks may come and go, especially during the early months/years, but they will worsen over time.
Fortunately, understanding of specific facet joint issues has come a long way in recent years and there are now quite formulaic instructions when it comes to forming treatment plans.
Medical Doctors will initially treat the issue by a combination of medication, physical therapy, and psychological coping techniques. In less severe cases these can significantly help and providing the treatment schedule is maintained there is a good chance of considerably lowering the impact on daily life.
Should the condition worsen there are also more advanced procedures – but be aware that these may not always work and might not be appropriate in all cases. Facet joint treatments are a combination of anesthetic and steroids that may provide some relief in the short term by reducing the inflammation in the joint. It needs to be administered very precisely and it is essential to be aware that it is not a lasting solution. Medical branch blocks are a similar alternative that instead tries to stop the nerve from transmitting pain to the brain and again is an unreliable short term solution.
The last resort would be a technique called radiofrequency denervation. While this is capable of offering significantly longer-term pain relief, it is an expensive procedure that will need to be quite frequently administered.