Although facet joint degenerative disease affects millions of people worldwide, women and individuals older than 50 are especially vulnerable. Aside from age and gender, a variety of other factors can contribute to this condition, including obesity, genetic predisposition and lifestyle. Overall, though, the aging process is the most common cause of facet joint degeneration, and because we can’t turn back the hands of time the only recourse is to explore treatment options that can relieve pain and increase quality of life.
Facet joint degenerative disease is an umbrella term that can refer to any type of degeneration, such as facet joint osteoarthritis, bone spur formation or even intervertebral disc degeneration. General symptoms of degeneration can include throbbing, tenderness or aching at the site of the diseased joint. If you have facet joint degeneration, you also may experience unusual locking of the joints, such as arching your back and then feeling as if you can’t fully straighten it out. Curvature of the spine can also result in more severe cases of persistent inflammation. Another symptom, referred to as “crepitus”, involves a crunching sensation and is the result of bone rubbing against bone because the facet joint cartilage has disintegrated.
A conservative schedule of physiotherapy may be all you need to manage your symptoms of facet joint degenerative disease. For instance, with a physician’s permission, simple exercises can help you maintain flexibility and mobility. Try activities that won’t put too much stress on the joints, like swimming or walking on a treadmill. Exercise also can lead to weight loss, which can help reduce joint pain.
Mild chiropractic work can increase circulation in the affected area, while also releasing tension from the surrounding muscles and ligaments. A numbing facet joint injection can not only help your physician to pinpoint the diseased joint, but a direct injection of anti-inflammatory steroids can reduce pain so that exercise is more manageable. Furthermore, your physician may recommend hot packs, cold packs, physical therapy and a combination of over-the-counter and prescription medications.
If you feel that facet joint degenerative disease is adversely affecting your life, the experts at Laser Spine Institute may be able to help. We perform a variety of minimally invasive procedures using the latest endoscopic technology. Contact us today for a free review or your MRI or CT scan.