Can Car Accidents Cause Facet Syndrome?

Can Car Accidents Cause Facet Syndrome?

Could Your Facet Syndrome Be Related to Your Car Accident?

Facet syndrome is not easy to diagnose and must be diagnosed by a professional medical doctor. Facet joints, which are about the size of your knuckles, exist at the back of each vertebra along the spine, enabling and controlling many of the forward, backward, and twisting movements of the body. These joints are usually protected by cartilage and connective tissues.

In an auto accident, though, the impact causes the spine to extended suddenly and does not always prevent the joints from becoming jammed.

What Are Some Symptoms* that You May Experience if You Have Facet Syndrome?

Car accident back injuryIf one or more facet joints become injured, chronic neck or back pain can occur, and possible radiating pain in the shoulders. You may also experience headaches.

Is Facet Syndrome the Same as a Herniated Disc?

Symptoms of facet syndrome differ at least slightly from herniated disc symptoms in that facet syndrome pain, while often felt in the shoulders, does not typically move into the arm or hand.

Pain from an inflamed facet joint can radiate down into the buttocks and down the back of the upper leg but rarely appears in the front of the leg or below the knee (as in the case of a herniated disc). Sufferers of facet syndrome also complain of pain that feels like a dull ache and is worse in the morning, during times of inactivity, during stormy weather, and upon compressing the affected area (for example, bending one’s head to his or her right if the painful joint is in the right side of the neck).

Loss of movement in the neck, muscle spasms, and deep, sharp pain are also symptoms of the injury.

 While the above-mentioned symptoms may point to facet syndrome, it is necessary to consult with a doctor for a proper diagnosis of your injury. Pain that seems to point to facet syndrome may, in fact, be caused by another condition. When visiting a physician for diagnosis, he or she may take x-rays or have a CT scan done to view injuries to the facet joints as well as other areas of the spine. If necessary, a facet joint injection can be performed to determine if a patient has the injury.


Changes in daily activities and exercises directed by a physical therapist, proper posture, the application of heat or cold (as instructed by a chiropractor) to the injured area, anti-inflammatory medicine, and a supportive neck pillow are all conservative options that may help to relieve facet joint pain.  More complex treatment options range from mild (such as chiropractic adjustments) to more serious procedures, such as facet rhizotomy, which destroys the nerve endings around the injured facet joints, and even bone fusion surgery for those who have disc degeneration.  PRFN (Pulsed Radiofrequency Neurotomy), which has also been used to treat inflamed facet joints, works to prevent specific spinal nerves from transmitting signals of pain.

Was your Back Injury / Facet Syndrome caused by the sudden impact of an auto accident?

If you suffered serious back injuries, like facet syndrome, that was onset by an auto accident, you should seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney. Murphy Law Firm has handled hundreds of spinal cord injury cases for clients who were not at fault for their accident.

Please feel free to call us at 770-577-3020 for free answers to any questions you may have.  You may wish to claim compensation for your spinal cord injury or other injuries associated with your accident. 

Our consultations are FREE, and there’s no fee unless you win!

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