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A key element of reducing or eliminating back pain is addressing the condition that’s causing it. Synovial cysts can cause nerve compression, but what causes synovial cysts, and what can you do about them?

At Spinal Stenosis and Disc Center, Inc. in Santa Monica, California, our team provides patient-focused diagnosis and treatment for neck pain, back pain, upper and lower extremity pain, numbness and weakness due to synovial cysts

Our doctors aim to provide long-lasting relief and restore your quality of life with personalized treatment plans and care. Understanding the root cause of your pain is one of the first steps to finding relief.

Synovial cyst basics

Let’s start with some synovial cyst facts. Your synovium is a thin layer of tissue that covers and lubricates the bones in your joints. A cyst forms when fluid escapes the joint but is trapped in the synovial lining.

Synovial cysts may not cause any symptoms. However, if the protrusion leads to spinal stenosis, it can compress the nerves in your spine and cause symptoms, including:

  • Low back pain
  • Extremity pain
  • Extremity numbness or tingling sensations
  • Extremity weakness
  • Loss of balance
  • Problems walking or standing

Your pain and other symptoms may subside when you sit down, as sitting or leaning forward creates space in your spinal canal and relieves the pressure.

Synovial cyst causes

Facet joint degeneration is the primary cause of synovial cysts. You have two facet joints on each vertebra in your spine. They connect your spinal bones and allow you to bend and twist. 

When these joints deteriorate, fluid accumulates to protect them. With the limited space in your spine, however, the fluid forms a synovial cyst. 

Let’s dig deeper and explore the factors that lead to facet joint degeneration.


You can develop arthritis in any joint in your body, including the facet joints in your spine. As the cartilage wears away, friction builds up between your bones and irritates them. Your body produces extra fluid to protect your bones.

Spinal disc problems

Facet joint degeneration often begins with a spinal disc problem such as a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease.

Your spinal discs cushion your vertebrae, and when a disc starts to break down, your body weight transfers to your facet joints instead of the flattened or weakened disc. The excess pressure on the facet joints can accelerate their deterioration.

When to talk to a doctor about a synovial cyst

You may not know that your low back pain or other symptoms are due to a synovial cyst. You should schedule an appointment at Spinal Stenosis and Disc Center, Inc. if you have persistent back pain that doesn’t subside with rest. 

You should also contact us if you have any numbness, tingling, or other signs of nerve problems in your lower back, hips, or legs.

Synovial cyst treatment

Our doctors offer comprehensive physical medicine services, including spinal manipulations, posture modifications, rehabilitative stretches, strengthening exercises, and nonsurgical spinal decompression using the revolutionary DRX 9000® technology.

Call our office or request a consultation online today if you have any signs of a synovial cyst or back pain that’s interfering with your quality of life. Our team is committed to relieving your pain and restoring your health and well-being.

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