The cervical facet joint has been identified as the source of neck pain in up to 60% of the cases [1], with the C6/C7 facet joint being particularly susceptible to injury during painful mechanical neck injuries [2]. The facet joint is innervated by both mechanoreceptors and nociceptors (i.e. pain receptors) [3,4]. Both receptor types respond to manipulation of the facet joint and afferent activation is related to the magnitude of joint loading [5]. Also, tensile stretch of the capsular ligament in vivo to magnitudes of strain simulating those during neck injury also produces sustained behavioral sensitivity (pain) and upregulates proteins involved in nociception [6]. Although anatomic and biomechanical studies suggest that facet capsule loading has a role in the development of pain, the relationship between capsule tension, the joint’s innervation, and the production of pain is still unclear.

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