What Is Facet Joint Pain?

Facet joint pain is one of the generators of back pain. It may be caused by facet arthropathy, which is a common type of arthritis. It may also coexist with other spinal degenerative disorders.

The facet joints are the connections between the individual vertebras of the spine. Nerves pass through these joints to go from the spinal cord to the arms, legs, and other parts of the body. Facet joints allow the spine to extend, bend and twist.

When the facet joints wear down, often due to strain and activity, the protective cushion between the joints becomes thinner. When this wear and tear takes place, bones in the facet joint may start to rub together or become stiff. This affects the alignment of the facet joints and can lead to back pain. Facet joint pain may also be caused by trauma to the spine, such as a whiplash injury.