Facet Joint Injury

Back and Spine Injury Accident Attorneys

Serving Quincy, Taunton, Brockton, Boston, and all of SE Massachusetts

Spinal Cord Injury LawyersFacet joints are small joints that hold together the vertebrae that makeup the spine. Together with the cushion-like discs that separate the vertebrae, the facet joints stabilize the spine and allow it to bend and twist. They also prevent the spine from twisting and bending too much. Cervical facet joints are located in the cervical spine or neck. They support the weight of the head and help us turn our heads up and down and side to side. Lumbar facet joints are located in the lumbar spine or lower back. They  support the weight of the torso and prevent us from over-twisting our bodies at the hips. Facet pain can exist on the left side or right side of the back and neck.

Facet Pain and Whiplash

It’s not unusual for facet pain to develop after a car crash or truck accident. Minor rear-end whiplash accidents frequently cause facet joint injuries. Facet joint injuries are the most common cause of chronic pain (pain lasting more than three months) in the aftermath of a car crash. A facet joint injury is responsible for chronic pain following an accident 49 to 55 percent of the time.

Facet Joint Injury Symptoms

Cervical and lumbar facet joint pain usually isn’t persistent. Episodes of pain come and go and can occur on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis.

  • The majority of patients have persist tenderness and some loss of flexibility in the spine. Tenderness and decreased flexibility are limited to the areas surrounded by the injured facet joint.
  • Leaning forward or backward produces discomfort.
  • Facet joint injuries located in the lumbar area (lower back) can cause pain to radiate down the buttocks and into the back part of the upper leg. A facet joint injury will never produce pain that travels down the knee and into the calve or foot which is the case with sciatica or lumbar radiculopathy  brought on by a lumbar herniated disc.
  • Facet joint injuries located in the cervical region (neck) can cause pain to radiate into the shoulders, shoulder blades and upper back. A facet injury will rarely produce pain that travels into the arms and down to the hands which is the case with cervical radiculopathy brought on by a cervical herniated disc.

Diagnosing Facet Injury

Facet injuries are hard to diagnosed because X-rays, CT Scans and MRIs cannot detect the injury. These tests are incapable of detecting the microscopic damage within the tiny facet joints. That is why people suffering a facet joint injury are often misdiagnosed.  If an X-ray, CT Scan or MRI doesn’t reveal structural damage (i.e. a herniated disc, disc disease or other condition or injury) most doctors will conclude that the post accident back pain is the result of a soft-tissue injury like a lumbar strain/sprain or cervical strain/sprain. As a result, facet joint injuries that are misdiagnosed as a soft tissue injury often wont be revealed until weeks or months after the accident.

You May Be Entitled To Compensation For Your Injuries

Serious back injuries can require ongoing medical treatment years into the future. A long lasting back injury can result in large ongoing medical expenses, chronic pain, missed work and loss of income. Back injury claims and litigation are highly complex and usually take a very long time to resolve. To receive compensation for your past and future lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering you will need an injury lawyer that is familiar with back injury law and the back injury claims process.

Contact our attorneys today to insure your rights and best interest are served.


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