Facet arthritis is an inflammation of a joint in the spine (facet joint).
SYMPTOMS OF FACET ARTHRITIS
Pain in the back or neck is the primary symptom. This pain can come and go. The pain may radiate into the shoulders (for cervical facet arthritis) and buttocks and legs (for lumbar facet arthritis), but is not likely to radiate all the way to the extremities. This marks a subtle difference in the pain felt due to a herniated disc and facet arthritis.
CAUSES OF FACET ARTHRITIS
As with other types of arthritis, age is a primary factor in developing problems. Other contributing factors may be heavy or repetitious labor, sports, obesity, and injury. Also, women are twice as likely to have arthritis as men.
HOW DOES SOCIAL SECURITY EVALUATE FACET ARTHRITIS?
Social Security may award your disability claim if you have facet arthritis in the spine that results in compromise of a nerve root in the spinal cord. This must be demonstrated by neuro-anatomic distribution of pain, limitation of motion of the spine, and motor loss accompanied by sensory or reflex loss. If there is involvement of the lower back, there must also be a positive straight-leg raising test, both while sitting and lying down. A medical doctor must attest that the claimant meets all of these requirements. If you do not meet the above requirements, your doctor may be able to attest to certain limitations your condition causes you, such as limits on how much weight you can lift, how far you can walk, how long you can stand or sit, and other functional assessments. If these restrictions are supported by medical records, you may be able to qualify for Social Security under Steps 4 & 5 of the sequential evaluation process.