Facet arthritis refers to the inflammation of one or more of the facet joints, which are the linking joints positioned along your spine’s vertebrae. The role of facet joints is to provide stability and motion between the vertebrae. With age, facet joints can thicken and their protective cartilage can harden, leading to pain, swelling and tenderness. Facet disorders are among the most common of all neck and lower back problems. To learn more about facet joint degenerative diseases like facet arthritis, visit our facet disease page. Factors leading to facet arthritis include:
- Age — arthritis affects approximately 90% of people over the age of 55
- Work or sports related injuries
- Trauma to the bones (such as fractures)
- Gender — women are twice as likely to suffer from arthritis than men
Facet arthritis typically occurs in the lower back, and its symptoms are most pronounced in the morning. The pain can be slight to severe, and it may travel down to your buttocks and upper thigh. Facet arthritis can also cause joint stiffness and/or swelling, tenderness in the affected area and muscle weakness.
Contact your healthcare provider if you find yourself having difficulty in getting out of bed in the morning, or if you feel pain or swelling in any of your joints. Your doctor has the ability to make sure your symptoms are due to arthritis and not a different problem. Also, review our facet disease treatments page for tips on reducing pain and swelling, including using non-prescription medication, stretching exercises and water therapy.
If you’re still experiencing the effects of facet arthritis after trying standard treatments, contact Laser Spine Institute. We offer free MRI or CT scan reviews, and our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures provide a faster recuperation time than treatments like open-back surgery. Contact us today to learn how we can increase your quality of life!