Symptoms: Cervical facet irritation symptoms include a stiff neck, often accompanied by shoulder and upper back pain. This pain tends to become worse when tilting your their head backwards, compressing the irritated area.
Overview: Your cervical spine is located at the back of your neck. Cervical facet irritation is a painful condition that affects the joints in this area. It is these joints (cervical facet joints) which are responsible for connecting the vertebrae, providing protection to the cervical spine, allowing normal range of motion while limiting excessive range of motion and preventing the vertebrae from locking together.
Cervical facet irritation develops from inflammation in the facet joints. Awkward neck movements, poor posture, acute injuries, subluxations (stuck or misaligned joints) and tightness in the muscles that attach the back and shoulder to the cervical spine, and nutritional deficiencies can all contribute to stress of the cervical facet joints leading to irritation and local pain.
When your body is supplied with proper nutrients and joints are properly aligned, they articulate in a normal range of motion, and they lubricate themselves. When joints are subluxated, they become stuck or misaligned, the delivery of nutrients is inhibited, and they can no longer lubricate themselves, thus causing irritation.
Cervical facet irritation generally begins after holding your neck in a stressful position for a lengthy period, such as with poor posture or bad sleeping habits. If you’ve ever fallen asleep and woken up with a sore or stiff neck, you’ve experienced a mild case of cervical facet irritation. Jobs that require staring at a computer screen, answering telephones or lifting heavy objects can strain your neck and back muscles, which increases your risk of developing cervical facet irritation.
If you’ve been experiencing symptoms of cervical facet irritation you should visit Dr. Suzan Starler, D.C. in a timely manner. Left untreated, it can turn into cervical facet syndrome, which is a more serious condition that involves referred pain in the shoulder, upper back and sometimes back of the head. Dr. Suzan will be able to provide you with effective care to restore movement in your irritated joints, relax those tight muscles, prevent recurrence, and promote overall healing.