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Pain Research and Management
Volume 1 (1996), Issue 3, Pages 175-177
Case Report

Isolated Facet Joint Fracture as a Cause of Chronic Low Back Pain and Sciatica

Robert W Teasell

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University Hospital, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Received 18 October 1995; Accepted 5 January 1996

Copyright © 1996 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A case of facet joint fracture following a rear-end motor vehicle accident who presented with chronic low back pain and sciatica is outlined. Diagnosis was made with 99Tc nuclear bone scan and was confirmed on computed tomographic scan after diagnosis with regular radiographs had failed. Facetectomy relieved pain but led to symptoms related to asymmetric load on the opposite facet joint. Symptoms were substantially relieved with a facet joint deinnervation procedure. Facet joint fracture was felt to occur as a consequence of compression forces on the facet joint at the time of impact.