Facet disease is a casual term used to describe degeneration of the facet joints. Facet joints are sliding joints found in the posterior portion of each vertebra. Facet joints allow the sliding of vertebra over its adjacent one when flexing or extending the back. With aging, the articular cartilage of the facet joints degrades and roughens making its sliding action extremely painful. Patients report symptoms of throbbing and tenderness, abnormal joint stiffness, limited range of motion, and diminished flexibility.
While facet disease is a progressive, degenerative condition that worsens with age, the speed of deterioration and its associated symptoms may be slowed through treatment by non-surgical conservative methods.
The standard course of action is to begin with a conservative, non-invasive treatment schedule. This may include any of the following:
- Hot and cold packs
- Mild exercise, combined with stretching and periods of rest
- Chiropractic work
- A physical therapy regimen
- Pain and anti-inflammatory medication
- Steroid injections
If these treatments have proven ineffective, a more invasive form of treatment may be required. Laser Spine Institute’s (LSI’s) surgeons perform minimally invasive, endoscopic procedures such as facet joint nerve ablation. During this procedure, a small incision is made and a thin tube is inserted from the skin to the facet joint capsule. Through this tube a laser is inserted. The laser that desensitizes the local facet sensory nerves serving the affected facet joint. After facet joint ablation, facet joint function is preserved, and yet painful symptoms are relieved.
The experts at Laser Spine Institute have helped tens of thousands of people rediscover their life. To get your facet joint treatment plan started, we offer a complimentary review your MRI or CT scan.