Facet Joint Pain Physical Therapy
Updated: May 5, 2022
The facet joints are smaller joints on the back side of your spinal vertebrae. You can see them illustrated in the image below courtesy of spineuniverse.com
Each vertebrae has two facet joints, one that connects to the bone above and one that connects to the bone below. You have facet joints throughout your spine, but the most commonly injured ones are in your lumbar spine or low back. The bones are separated by a joint capsule to allow for movement. This joint capsule is filled with fluid to decrease pressure between the bony surfaces. If you picture bending forward, your facet joints separate, while bending backwards brings them closer together.
The facet joints are important because it is estimated that 15% of low back pain is related to facet joint dysfunction (spineuniverse.com). This dysfunction is often called “facet joint syndrome” when referring to the pathology that takes place. Now that you understand the anatomy, let’s take a look at what causes facet joint syndrome.