Degenerative facet joints is the term used to describe a disease affecting the joints that link your spine’s vertebrae together. These joints allow for flexibility, rotation and motion in the spine, enabling a range of movements such as leaning forward and twisting. A type of osteoarthritis, degenerative facet joints occur when the thin layer of cartilage covering the facet joints breaks down, causing inflammation as well as pain, which can vary from slight to severe. Learn more about facet joints and their important connecting role by reviewing our facet disease page.
Degenerative facet joints typically cause lower back pain, which may radiate down into your buttocks and the back of your upper leg. The spinal nerves are rarely affected. For most people, the breakdown of their facet joints occurs over time, and they do not experience a sudden onset of symptoms like:
- Tenderness around the inflamed joints
- Loss of spinal muscle flexibility
- More discomfort when leaning backwards rather than leaning forward
- Recurrent pain episodes
Our facet joints deteriorate for other reasons besides daily wear and tear put upon them. Poor posture, improper lifting and bending, obesity and overuse from work or sports activities can increase joint stress, leading to a faster degeneration. You can also educate yourself further about facet joint degeneration by reading our facet arthritis page.
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of degenerative facet joints, contact your physician for a consultation and diagnosis. Your physician may prescribe treatments including or physical therapy or the use of over-the-counter medication like acetaminophen.
Some patients may need more than standard treatment to find pain relief. Fortunately, there is another option—minimally invasive outpatient procedures performed by Laser Spine Institute. Our state-of-the-art procedures and facilities can help you get your life back in as little as a week! For a free MRI or CT scan review, and to learn more information about our facilities, contact us today.