Editor-in-Chief: Alaa Abd-Elsayed, MD, PhD
BACKGROUND: Facet joints of the spine are the only true synovial joints between adjacent spinal levels. Degenerative disease changes of the joint, or facet arthropathy, can be asymptomatic. However, pain can occur when the joint becomes acutely inflamed. Specifically, cervical facet arthropathy and associated neck pain can be difficult to treat.
CASE REPORT: We present a case of a 64-year-old man with known lumbar spondylosis who developed acute neck pain after a dental procedure. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed inflammation of the left C2-C3 facet joint. This patient achieved successful relief of pain with an intraarticular corticosteroid injection followed by physical therapy. Careful consideration was given to a detailed therapy protocol in order to regain pain-free active range of motion of the neck.
CONCLUSION: To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of acute facet inflammation after a dental procedure. Additionally, this report highlights the value of intraarticular corticosteroids for an acutely inflamed facet joint. In order to prevent injury, dentists and oral surgeons should be attentive to neutral spine position¬ing, especially during prolonged procedures.
KEY WORDS: Arthritis, cervical spine, corticosteroids, dentistry, facet joint, neck pain, physical therapy, posture