HOPKINS MEDICAL . Osteoarthritis of the spine usually affects the facet joints between the vertebrae. It is also known as facet joint arthritis, facet joint syndrome and facet disease. In some cases, degeneration of the spinal discs (degenerative disc disease) may contribute to facet joint arthritis. Spinal arthritis is inflammation of the facet joints in the spine or sacroiliac joints between the spine and the pelvis. It may be related to wear and tear, autoimmune disorders, infection and other conditions. Sometimes, the inflammation may also affect the sites where ligaments and tendons attach to the bones of the spine.
MAYO CLINIC . The facet joints are joints in the spine located in the back (posterior) aspect of the spine. There are facet joints at each vertebral level, one on each side of the spine. These joints provide flexibility (allow the spine to turn or bend with movement) and stability (prevent excessive motion). Facet arthritis happens when the cartilage that covers the ends of the joints wears out and becomes thin. This can contribute to the growth of osteophytes (bone spurs) and hypertrophy (enlargement) of the joints.
SPINE-HEALTH . Osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis) can cause breakdown of cartilage between the facet joints. When the joints move, the lack of the cartilage causes pain as well as loss of motion and stiffness. Facet joint arthritis causes the cartilage to breakdown and the joint movement is associated with more friction. The patient loses motion and as they get stiffer they have more back pain