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Posted on 09-01-2016

Have you been involved in a fender bender and now, weeks or months later, the neck pain hasn't gone away?

Did you know that your neck has tiny joints called facet joints that allow your neck to move?

Injury to the neck facet joints is the leading cause of neck pain after a whiplash injury. These small joints are between each bony vertebral body, just like your finger joints, and when injured they cause pain, not only with movement, but also while resting.

How do you know if you might have a facet joint injury?

  • Recent or past neck injury. Most commonly from an auto accident where the head moves quickly back and forth, called a whiplash injury. Or a fall which cause the neck to be injured.
  • Neck pain. Usually the facet joint injury will cause pain at the base of the neck often with pain radiating into the upper shoulder. The pain may grow in intensity over time, may come and go, or become chronic. It may at first seem like a muscle pain but last for many months or years. Facet joint injury is the most common source of chronic neck pain after a whiplash injury.
  • X-Rays and MRI's usually will not show the injury. Diagnosis is made by improvement of the symptoms with treatment.

How is a facet joint injury treated?

  • Pills, pills, pills.
  • Injections of steroids.
  • Surgical nerve removal.
  • Neck therapy, massage and muscle strengthening.
  • Cervical stretching and manipulation.
  • Healthy lifestyle changes.

What should I do?

Pills always run out, injections have a limit, and surgery cannot be undone. Neck therapies and lifestyle changes have the best benefit to risk ratio. Essentially it is your neck. What do you want to do?

Lexington Family Chiropractic. We are waiting for you. We can help.

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