Posterior facet syndrome is a lower back condition that is characterized by back pain, with or without local tenderness. The pain from posterior facet syndrome can cause sciatic like pain, which can radiate from the back, down to the buttocks and into the thighs. This pain is often caused by inflammatory reaction as a result of irritation in the synovial lining of the facet joints (the union of bony projections of two vertebrae, which allow the spinal column to bend forward and backward.)
Posterior facet syndrome can occur in people with scoliosis and joint instability. However, it is most commonly observed in individuals who have some abnormal stress on the facet joints caused by degenerative disc disease (also known as DDD or disc degeneration). Radiologically, posterior facet syndrome is classified as facet imbrication.
Posterior facet imbrication is often the cause of foraminal stenosis (narrowing in the size of vertebral holes where spinal nerves exit). Foraminal stenosis causes nerve root irritation and eventual pain. For a detailed description of a facet joint or degenerative disc disease please refer to the appropriate sections of our site.