Do facet joint problems show on MRI?

How is Facet Arthritis Diagnosed? Facet arthropathy may be diagnosed on x-rays, CT and MRI. CT scan may show thickened irregular facet joints. MRI scan may show joint swelling, thickened ligaments and bones and pinched nerves.

Where is the facet joint located?

facet joints: joints located on the top and bottom of each vertebra that connect the vertebrae to each other and permit back motion.

What nerves run through facet joints?

Each facet joint is innervated by two small nerves (dually innervated) – paired medial branches of the posterior ramus (dorsal primary rami) of the spinal nerves. [2],[3] The facet receives a medial branch from the spinal nerve above the facet and the nerve below.

What nerve Innervates the facet joint at l3?

The facet joint in the lumbar spine is innervated by the medial branch of the dorsal ramus of the nerve exiting at the same level and also the medial branch of the nerve one level above.

How common is facet joint syndrome?

Some researchers estimate that facet joint syndrome accounts anywhere from 15% of all low back pain complaints to 59.6% in men and 66.7% in women. While facet joint syndrome most often affects the lumbar spine, the cervical and thoracic spinal regions may be affected as well.

How does facet joint pain feel like?

Typically, facet joint pain feels like a dull ache, localized to one area of the spine. The pain may be experienced on one or both sides, and often in the lower back or neck. Movements toward the affected joint will cause pain.

How many facet joints are in the spine?

Also known as the zygapophyseal or apophyseal joint, is a synovial joint between the superior articular process of one vertebra and the inferior articular process of the vertebra directly above it. There are two facet joints in each spinal motion segment.

What is a spine facet?

The facet joints are the connections between the bones of the spine. The nerve roots pass through these joints to go from the spinal cord to the arms, legs and other parts of the body. These joints also allow the spine to bend and twist, and they keep the back from slipping too far forward or twisting without limits.

Is walking good for facet joint pain?

Lumbar (lower spine) facet joint pain can present as low back pain, buttock pain, and pain in the back of the thighs. Prolonged walking and standing can make the pain worse. Sitting usually relieves the pain as stress is taken off the facet joints.

How can I sleep with lumbar facet joint pain?

A change in sleep positions takes immense pressure off the facet joints. Doctors typically recommend sleeping curled up on your side, or on your back with your knees up and a pillow underneath. Some traction, strengthening exercises, water therapy, and/or spinal manipulation can be helpful as well.

What kind of MRI can you get for facet joint syndrome?

MRI’s show soft tissue problems such as bulging discs, herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, osteophytes (bone spurts), and a condition called facet joint hypertrophy. Most of the MRI reports that come across my desk are lumbar and cervical MRI’s.

Where are the facet joints in the spine?

Facet joints are pairs of small joints in between the vertebrae in the back of the spine. These joints have opposing surfaces of cartilage, which limits friction between the bones.

How can I tell if I have facet arthropathy?

On CT, joint space narrowing, subchondral sclerosis, erosions and osteophytes formations of the facet joints are noted. Gas can also be seen inside the joint representing the vacuum phenomenon. In addition, neural foramen impingement can also be noted. MRI is less sensitive for the diagnosis of facet arthropathy.

How does the superior articular facet work like a hinge?

The superior articular facet faces upward and works like a hinge with the inferior articular facet (below). Like other joints in the body, each facet joint is surrounded by a capsule of connective tissue and produces synovial fluid to nourish and lubricate the joint.