Degenerative facet joints result in a condition known as facet disease, or facet arthritis. The facet joints, which link the spinal vertebrae, facilitate flexibility and enable a wide range of movements, such as leaning forward and twisting. Degenerative facet joints occur when the thin layer of cartilage covering the joints breaks down, causing inflammation and pain, which may be 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 to the buttocks and down the back of the upper leg. The spinal nerves are rarely affected, and for most people, the degeneration and accompanying symptoms occur gradually over time. Patients typically experience:
- Tenderness around the inflamed joints
- More discomfort when leaning backward than when leaning forward
- Loss of spinal muscle flexibility
- Recurrent pain episodes
The facet joints may deteriorate for reasons other than continual wear and tear. Poor posture, improper lifting and bending, obesity and overuse from work or sports activities can lead to joint stress and degeneration. You can educate yourself further about facet joint degeneration by reading our facet arthritis page.
If you are experiencing the symptoms of degenerative facet joints, contact your physician for a consultation and diagnosis. Discovering the source of your pain is the first step back to wellness. Your physician may recommend treatments such as physical therapy and the use of over-the-counter medication like acetaminophen.
Some patients may require additional treatment to find sufficient relief for their discomfort. The minimally invasive outpatient procedures performed by the surgeons at Laser Spine Institute are other options. Our state-of-the-art techniques can help you find relief from chronic pain. Contact us today for your MRI or CT scan review.