Facet Joint Degeneration and Chiropractic Care

Did you know there are 360 joints in the human body? When you think of joints, you probably don’t think of many of the smaller joints, such as those in your fingers, wrist, and between the kneecap and other leg bones. But did you know that the vertebrae in the spine actually have joints between them too? They are called facet joints, and they are vital to flexibility in the torso. All joints can experience wear and tear that causes pain and mobility problems, and you’re likely to notice a level of degeneration in a large joint like the knee, shoulder, or hip. But in the facet joints in the spine, you may not be aware of degeneration and wear and tear until it’s pretty advanced.

Anatomy of the Facet Joints

Two facet joints are located on the back of each vertebra, one on the back left and the other on the back right. These joints connect one vertebra to the ones above and below, and they contain cartilage and synovial fluid that help the joint move smoothly, as well as a joint capsule that helps stabilize the joint. The facet joints work alongside the spinal discs to offer flexibility and rotation of the spine.

Joint Degeneration

All joints have a specific motion that they are able to perform based on the type of joint. Just like you wouldn’t expect your finger joints to move in the same way your hip moves, the facet joints have a specific modality of movement. Facet joints primarily move inward and outward (flexion and extension), much like the bicep, but they can also move in a rotational pattern and laterally to some extent.

When joints are not regularly moved through their full range of motion, that range of motion decreases. Stress on the joint, pain in the area, improper movement, and trauma can all contribute to not using the joints well, and the area compounds on itself as time goes by. Lack of use leads to loss of range of motion, and as you lose range of motion, you use the joint less and less.

Facet Joint Degeneration

One of the normal processes that takes place in our bodies involves our bone health. The body consistently breaks down the bone, absorbs it, and then creates new bone in its place. This is supposed to happen as it leads to strong bones. But if dysfunction and stress in the joints or other areas are longstanding, it causes this bone process to be altered. Your body essentially sees areas of weakness and aims to correct them, sometimes leading to new bone being laid down in an area where it shouldn’t be. This can cause bone spurs and arthritis. Although these issues are more commonly associated with other areas of the body, they can come about on the facet joints as well, leading to facet arthritis, facet bone spurs, and increased spinal degeneration.

Chiropractic Care for Facet Joint Health

Chiropractic care is the only thing that can help with facet joint degeneration. With each adjustment, chiropractors are bringing movement and range of motion back into the facet joints, which restores blood flow to the area and allows for cell regeneration in the spinal discs and surrounding tissues.

If you have poor range of motion in your back, experience recurring back pain, or simply want to ensure your spinal health is at its best, contact Greater Life Chiropractic today. Dr. Grant Lisetor and his team are passionate about helping the Charlotte community achieve better health and a greater life, starting from the inside out.