Why does facet joint pain hurt so bad?
Ultimately, it’s due to the specific anatomy and the ability (or lack thereof) to function correctly.
If a vertebrae is rotated around and stuck, then the facet joint is :
1. Compressed and the opposite side is force open too far
2. Mechanically unable to move (so more compression with every movement)(hurts the interior of the joint
3. If one side is tight/compressed, the other side is pulled open to far (hurts the joint capsule)
Compression results in bone bruise (very painful), all the surrounding muscles tightening up to ‘guard and protect’ (thus more compression and forced , and inflammation process (makes things hurt more).
The moral of the story is that facet joint dysfunction hurts so bad because the dynamic of multiple factors causes a constant severe pain signal to be sent to the brain (that responds in a way such that those factors get worse).
Let this happen at even mild levels over time, and arthritis and osteoarthritis develops.
Corticosteroid injections are a common ‘treatment’ to try to reduce pain so the dynamic can relax. But that ignores all the actual causes making the facet joint hurt in the first place.
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