Facet Mediated Pain

Facet Mediated Pain

What is a facet mediated pain?

Facet mediated pain, commonly referred to as facet syndrome or facet capsulitis/synovitis is a condition affecting the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine. It is characterised by a sharp pain that is aggravated by movements such as leaning backward and rotating. Many painful conditions such as whiplash and wry neck often have some type of facet joint injury/irritation.

What is a facet joint?

Facet joints are the joints that connect all the vertebrae in your back. They are formed by the inferior articular process of the vertebrae above and the superior articular process from the vertebrae below. Surrounded by a fibrous capsule they contain cartilage and menisci, which act as a shock absorber similar to the knee. Inside the capsule is synovial fluid to lubricate the structures inside and help with movement. They provide mobility for the spine, with each spinal level working in congruence with the joints above and below to allow movement to occur. The orientations of our facet joints differ as you go down the spine allowing for different ranges of motion. Our facet joints are highly innervated by nerves, which provide sensory input to the nervous system. Injured or inflamed facet joints can mimic injuries such as a disc injury or sciatica, and can refer pain to different areas of the body.

What causes facet mediated pain?

There are many reasons that can cause injury to a facet joint. A few examples are:

  • Sustained/static posture
  • Whiplash or trauma
  • Weak stabilisers (such as the core and the neck flexors)
  • Overuse/overstretching the capsule
  • Faulty biomechanics

How can Proactive Health & Sports help?

As a result of the facet joint being injured, the surrounding muscles tend to tense up to protect the joint from further injury. At Proactive Health & Sports, our highly qualified practitioners offer the most up to date techniques, supported by the most up to date research, to treat facet mediated pain.
We use a combination of hands-on manual therapy and rehabilitation, to get the best results for our patients. Methods such as soft tissue release, dry needling and muscle stretching can be used to promote the healing process and desensitise your pain. A rehabilitation exercise program will also be provided to strengthen the surrounding area and to help avoid the joint from being under increased load in the future.
Proactive Health & Sports offers a safe, non-intrusive, and most importantly a long-lasting form of neck pain relief.
For more information or to book an appointment call us on 0401 115 583 or ​book online​.


  1. Little JS, Ianuzzi A, Chiu JB, Baitner A, Khalsa PS. Human lumbar facet joint capsule strains: II.
  2. Alteration of strains subsequent to anterior interbody fixation. The spine journal : official journal of the North American Spine Society. 2004;4(2):153-62.
  3. Nance PW, Adcock EM. Facet Mediated Pain [document on the Internet]. PM&R Knowledge NOW; 2011 [cited 2018 May 4]. Available from: https://now.aapmr.org/facet-mediated-pain/
  4. Ramsook RR, Bryce TN. Facet-Mediated Pain. 2017:341-3.

Image reference: 1. Ramsook RR, Bryce TN. Facet-Mediated Pain. 2017:Fig 77.1.

Proactive Health and Sports Clinic Chiswick is ready to help you feel and perform better! We are experienced chiropractors based in the heart of Chiswick, Sydney. All of our treatment sessions go for a full hour with the sole purpose of getting your body operating at its highest capacity. We use the most modern chiropractic techniques in a combination with modern technologies such as Game Ready. Besides our thorough chiropractor services, we also offer a range of dry needling, post-op treatment, prehabilitation, rehabilitation, and home visit services. Call us today on 0401 115 583.