Cervical Facet Sprain


The cervical spine (neck) consists of seven separate vertebrae which are named from the top to the bottom as C1 to C7. Two facet or zygapophyseal joints are located at the back of each vertebra and are the bony links between the vertebra above and below by means of a superior articular and inferior articular process.


The facet joints are termed synovial joints with hyaline cartilage, synovial lining and a joint capsule containing synovial fluid. The joint capsule wraps around the facet joints providing additional support. The facet joints are richly innervated by both pain and pressure receptors and therefore if a facet joint is injured, it can become very painful.

Any movement of the neck which excessively stretches or compresses the facet joints can injure these structures resulting in a facet sprain or a facet syndrome. These symptoms may arise secondary to trauma, such as after a “whiplash type injury“. Alternatively, the process may be more gradual and secondary to hinging through the lower cervical spine from prolonged periods of time spent in front of their workstation with a faulty posture.

Symptoms arising from this condition can be very varied due to the compensatory muscle spasm and joint locking that can take place. In addition, the patient may have referred pain away from the site of injury, such as into the upper aspect of the mid back and shoulders and head.

(The list of conditions given above and subsequent explanations are intended as a general guide and should not be considered a replacement for a full medical examination. Furthermore, we do not purport to treat all the conditions listed. Should you wish to discuss any of these conditions with our chiropractors, please do not hesitate to phone the clinic on 020 7374 2272 or email enquiries@body-motion.co.uk).

Our team of chiropractors and massage therapists are on hand to answer any questions you may have, so get in touch today via enquiries@body-motion.co.uk or on +44 (0)20 7374 2272.

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