Thoracic facet arthropathy refers to pain in one of the tiny facet joints that connect one vertebra to another in your thoracic spine (middle of the back).

As we age, the cartilage that lines the facet joint surfaces in the spine gradually wears away, primarily due to constant, repetitive motions. In some cases, bone spurs develop and grow along the edges of the joints. When the facet joints become irritated or inflamed, the result is usually stiffness and pain between the lower back and the shoulders.

While thoracic facet arthropathy is generally the result of the natural aging process, other causes may include injury, such as whiplash, or repetitive stress from lifting or carrying heavy loads, or performing overhead motions.

Lancaster Orthopedic Group’s team of spine specialists helps patients with complex neck and back problems, including thoracic facet arthropathy, to recover and return to their normal daily activities. Our specialists develop the best course of treatment for each patient.

Conservative treatment for mild cases may include rest, ice, avoidance of activities that cause pain, anti-inflammatory and pain medications, bracing or back supports, facet joint injections, and physical therapy. If symptoms of the thoracic facet arthropathy are not responsive to conservative treatment, surgical intervention may be recommended.