If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic injury to a facet joint in an accident that was caused by the carelessness, recklessness, or negligence of someone else, contact us today. Our Experienced legal professionals will do what it takes to get you the compensation you deserve, and help you return to living a normal life.
What Is Facet Joint Trauma?
The spine consists of many facet joints, one in between each vertebrae. The soft, cushion-like discs that separate the vertebrae allow the facet joints to stabilize the spine, allowing it to bend and twist. Good facet joint phentermine health is critical in regards to maintaining body strength, flexibility, and range of motion. They tend to occur near the head and neck (cervical facet joints) and the lower back (lumbar facet joints), as those are the areas of the spine that flex the most. An injury to a facet joint will have a serious negative impact on day-to-day motions, like walking, bending, and turning. In turn, this type of injury makes it very difficult to earn a living, enjoy spending time with family and loved ones, and will likely affect your emotional well-being.
Facet joint injuries are the number one cause of neck pain after a car accident, and often result in neurological damage. The most common injuries that occur are dislocation of the facet joint, tearing of a ligament, compression of the nerves, disruption of blood supply, and associated soft tissue swelling. Long term care and treatment is often needed in order to fully recover and return to your normal lifestyle. A victim of a fact joint injury is likely to incur large medical bills for the medicine and therapy needed in order to recover.
How Does Facet Joint Trauma Occur?
Facet joint injuries are usually the result of a forceful and sudden impact, or of abrupt and extreme flexing of the spine. A popular example is whiplash, which is an injury often associated with vehicle accidents or sporting accidents. Below is a list of common causes of facet joint injury.
- Auto Accidents
- Truck Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Slip and Fall Accidents
In addition to traumatic injuries, problems related to facet joints are also frequently seen in senior citizens. As the body ages, and the tissues that separate the bones begins to wear down, joint pain and immobility will increase. Eventually the cartilage in the joints will be eroded, and the bones will begin to rub against one another, causing great amounts of pain and discomfort.
What Are Symptoms Of Facet Joint Trauma?
The effects that a facet joint injury will have on the body depend greatly on the area that’s been affected. The symptoms of cervical facet joint injury include:
- Neck Pain
- Upper Back Pain
- Shoulder Pain Radiating Into The Upper Arms
- Sleep Apnea
The symptoms of lumbar facet joint injury are typically limited to pain or numbness in the following areas:
- Lower Back
Regardless of the location, some of the symptoms may appear and disappear suddenly. The tissue that makes up a facet joint can slip in and out of place once injured, and a subsistence of pain doesn’t necessarily mean that the injury has healed. In addition to pain within the joint itself, there may be tenderness and swelling in the muscles and flesh immediately around the joint, as well.
How Is Facet Joint Trauma Diagnosed?
Any one that has been in a serious accident that may be suffering a facet joint injury should seek out professional medical attention. While these injuries aren’t life threatening, they can be life altering, and the sooner they are diagnosed and treated, the better your chances are of making a full recovery.
Discuss with your doctor the details of the traumatic event, and the symptoms you’re experiencing. He or she will perform a full physical examination, and will likely test your range of motion, and discuss with you the level of pain you feel. Your doctor may recommend x-rays, and MRI, or even a CT scan of your spine. These tests can be helpful in determining which joints have been affected, and the extent of the damage. A specific test that used in conjunction with x-ray imaging is the facet joint injection. A contrast dye is injected directly into the joint, which is then photographed with an x-ray machine to see where the fluid goes, allowing your doctor to see in detail the damage to the joint.
How Is Facet Joint Trauma Treated?
Treatment options of facet joint injuries are dependent on the severity of the injury. Lesser injuries can be treated with rather conservative methods that aren’t invasive. Applying heat, and reducing stress and pressure on the injury is a good start. Changing your posture, and refraining from sitting for extended periods of time is also a good idea.
A mild injury may only need attention from a chiropractor or physical therapist. In some cases, restriction of movement may be needed to heal properly. Neck braces, back braces, or cervical traction may be implemented.
In more serious injuries, surgery may be required. A procedure called spinal fusion can be used to permanently join to vertebrae together, reducing the pressure and stress on the tissue between them. However, this comes at the cost of flexibility and mobility. What was one a movable joint is now solid bone. Depending on the location of the joint, patients who receive spinal fusion surgery as treatment may no longer be able to turn their head, or bend over. The limited mobility can be even more restricting if more than two vertebrae have to be fused.
Los Angles Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered a facet joint injury as a result of someone’s negligence and would like to discuss your legal options with an experienced Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney, contact us today for a free consultation. We have offices in Encino, Los Angeles, and every city listed at the bottom of this page. We represent clients in all parts of Southern California.