The purpose of a facet joint is to facilitate the articulation of the vertebrae of the spinal column (Jaumard, Welch and Winkelstein, 2011). In each spinal segment are two facet joints;
Degeneration of a facet joint occurs when the thin layer of cartilage covering the facet joints breaks down, causing inflammation and pain. Reduced vertebral disc height from degeneration and loss of fluid allows the facet joints to come into closer proximity which can contribute to the development of this condition. Facet joint pain occurs mostly in the cervical and the lumbar spine and is usually felt as a unilateral back pain.
Pain management include anti-inflammatories, steroid-injections, and most important physiotherapy: manual therapy, mobilisation with movement and strengthening exercises to increase the range of movement as well as stabilizing the area.
Jaumard N.V., Welch W.C. and Winkelstein B.A., 2011, Spinal Facet Joint Biomechanics and Mechanotransduction in Normal, Injury and Degenerative Conditions, JOurnal of Biomechanical Engineering, 133(7); doi: 10.1115/1.4004493