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Facet Joint Injury Lawyer

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Facet Joint Injury Lawyer


The facet joints, also known as the zygapophyseal joints, are synovial joints that connect each of the vertebrae in the spine. They are located between the lamina and the pedicle. The facet joints are involved in a wide array of pathological processes such as tumor, trauma, inflammation, infection, and arthropathy. Like other joints in the body, the facet joints are susceptible to degeneration and sprains. They form in such a way that provides stability and structure to the vertebral column by acting as articular pillars. Facet joint syndrome is a condition that is characterized by arthritic inflammation and changes. These may cause diffuse and severe pain from the nerves to the facet joints. This condition often results in chronic back pain that may impact all aspects of life.

Did you or a loved one develop facet joint syndrome after getting injured in a car accident? Our personal injury lawyers in California are here to help you seek maximum compensation for your losses. Call our law firm today for free, friendly case advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

At AutoAccident.com, we are proud to serve our community by representing those who have been injured or families who have lost loved ones in devastating crashes. When it comes to obtaining a favorable outcome in a personal injury case, experience, skills, and resources are key. You will receive just that when you turn to our legal team for assistance. We are committed to helping our clients obtain justice and maximum compensation for the undue harm they have suffered because of the negligence of others. Our law firm operates on a contingent fee basis, meaning that costs of legal representation will be due at the successful resolution of the case. Call now to learn more about how we can help you with your facet joint injury case today.

Etiology of Facet Joint Syndrome

The most common reason for facet joint disease is spondylosis, a condition that leads to spinal degeneration. Osteoarthritis (OA) is characterized by the known abnormal body mechanics of the condition and facet joint degeneration secondary to wear and tear. Widely prevalent in the elderly, facet joint degenerative osteoarthritis is a common cause of pain in the neck and back. This condition is associated with intervertebral disc degeneration. OA is characterized as a continuum between the overgrowth of bone, cartilage loss, synovial fluid loss, narrowing, and loss of joint space.

While the pathophysiology of osteoarthritis is not completely understood, it may involve personal risk factors in addition to various proteolytic enzymes and cytokines. Other reasons for facet joint disease may include inflammatory conditions and trauma secondary to sport-related activities or injury. The development of facet joint disease may also occur through spondylolisthesis from the subluxation of the joints. In the younger population, spondylolisthesis may occur because of isthmic spondylolisthesis, acute fractures, congenital abnormalities, and stress fractures.

What is the Clinical Presentation of Facet Joint Pain?

A patient with facet joint disease may have signs of inflammation and cartilage erosion which may be a significant source of pain. Other physical changes may occur in the body in response to this disease process. This may include hypomineralization with an increase in the volume of subchondral bone, new bone formation around the joint due to the development of bone spurs or osteophytes, and the thickening of the ligaments. The pain in the facet joint is described as unilateral back pain that is more likely to occur from the joint capsule instead of the synovium or the articular cartilage.

How is Facet Joint Disease Evaluated?

The physician will conduct an inspection of the affected area. This may include evaluating posture asymmetry, muscle atrophy, decrease or increase in lumbar lordosis, and paraspinal muscle asymmetry or fullness. A patient with chronic facet joint syndrome may present with lateral bending or rotation within the thoracolumbar area or at the sacroiliac joint. The doctor will also palpate over the transverse processes and along the paravertebral regions in an attempt to reproduce and localize any points of tenderness. From there, the physician will examine the range of motion through rotation, lateral bending, extension, and flexion.

How is Facet Joint Syndrome Diagnosed?

A physical examination and review of patient history may be useful in the diagnosis of the source of back pain. Based on these findings, a physician may utilize diagnostic tools such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-rays, and computed tomography (CT) scans to confirm arthritic changes in the facet joints. If the physician requires additional information, they may need to order a medial branch nerve block, facet joint injection, bone density test, and bone scan.

How is Facet Joint Disease Treated?

Non-surgical management of facet joint syndrome may include rest with the application of heat or ice over the source of pain. Anti-inflammatory medications may also be recommended for pain management. A patient may be referred to physical therapy, medial branch nerve blocks, and radiofrequency ablation. The purpose of diagnostic medial branch blocks is to confirm the source of pain. When there is a positive response to a set of two diagnostic medial branch blocks, the medial branch may be ablated through radiofrequency ablation.

Case studies have reported decreased pain and improved function after lumbar medial branch radiofrequency ablation. These have been found to last anywhere from six to 12 months. The reduction of pain occurs through the temporary destruction of the medial branch nerves through heat. Such procedures are generally performed under fluoroscopic guidance and local anesthesia. Given that the regeneration of the nerves will occur later in time, the procedure is repeated when the patient has complaints of pain, usually within 12 months of the treatment.

What are the Complications of Facet Joint Pain?

Complications are rare from the treatment of facet joint syndrome with radiofrequency ablation or medial branch blocks. However, there may be an increase in pain following these procedures because of needle entry and heat denervation. While rare, some of the potential complications of treatment for this condition may include increased pain after the procedure, infection, bleeding, weakness or numbness, and headaches.

What Losses Are Recoverable in a Personal Injury Case?

Injuries from an accident may create a significant burden on your health, family life, and finances. If the incident occurred because of another party’s negligence, there may be recourse available. An experienced injury lawyer can protect your rights and best interests throughout the legal process. While you focus on recovering from accident-related injuries, such as facet joint pain, your attorney will work with insurance companies to negotiate a settlement that addresses all your needs.

In a personal injury case, economic and non-economic damages are generally recoverable. This may include past and future costs of medical treatment, wage loss, diminished earning potential, permanent injury or disability, lost quality of life, pain and suffering, and more. When all attempts at a reasonable settlement agreement have been exhausted, your lawyer will file the case in civil court. The purpose of filing the case is to protect the statute of limitations and proceed with litigation. For more details on the claims process and the factors that may affect the value of a facet joint injury case, watch this video.

Can You Seek Compensation for a Pre-Existing Condition?

When an individual had a pre-existing health condition before a motor vehicle collision or another type of accident, that does not necessarily impact their ability to seek compensation for their losses. That is because an injured party may seek damages associated with the aggravation of their pre-existing condition, such as facet joint disease. An experienced accident attorney can help an injured party by gathering evidence to prove the severity of the condition before and after the crash. When building a personal injury case, your facet joint injury lawyer will work with expert witnesses, order medical records, and meet with friends and family to determine how an injured party’s life has been impacted because of a pre-existing medical condition.

Contact a Facet Joint Injury Attorney Today

If you developed facet joint pain from injuries sustained in a recent accident, this debilitating condition may lead to chronic neck and back pain that may impact your quality of life. With a history of successful verdicts and settlements, our skilled attorneys can help you seek the maximum compensation you need to put this traumatic event behind you. Call now to get started with free, friendly advice on your case from one of our facet joint injury lawyers at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400. Our multilingual legal team is available anytime to meet with you and determine your potential options for recovery moving forward.

Photo Source: “Karolina Grabowska” via Pexels

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