Symptoms of facet arthropathy include stiff and painful joints in the spine, numbness, tingling, and radiating pain in the extremities, according to the Laser Spine Institute. Other symptoms include poor posture, muscle spasms, and chronic or acute pain that may require surgery to treat.
Pain from facet joint arthopathy can be localized to the affected facet joints, including those in the lumbar, thoracic and cervical regions, explains Dr. Steven Helper. Pain from the lumbar, or lower back, region of the spine can be felt in many ways and can be confused with pain from surrounding structures, such as intervertebral disks, spinal nerves and sacroiliac joints.
Those with lumbar facet arthropathy may feel that pain is worse after resting or sleeping, according to Methodist Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. Pressure on the facet joints, such as from bending the trunk of the body sideways, can also produce pain. The pain may spread into the buttocks and even the thighs, but it is rarely felt below the knee.
Midback pain, which occurs from the thoracic facet joints in the spine, is rare, notes Dr. Helper. It is usually felt as pinpoint pain along the spine and is sometimes felt along the shoulder blade. Movements that make symptoms worse include sideways rotation and bending as well as overhead lifting. Neck pain is commonly felt in people who have arthritis in the cervical facet joints. Even thought cervical facet joint problems are the most common cause of neck pain, other surrounding structures can also be responsible.