Facet arthritis is the inflammation of one or more of the facet joints, which are the linking joints positioned between the spinal vertebrae. The role of these joints is to provide stability and motion to the spine. Over time, 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 percent of people over the age of 55
- Gender — women are twice as likely to suffer from arthritis than men
- Work or sports related injuries
- Trauma to the bones (such as fractures)
Facet arthritis typically occurs in the lower back, and its symptoms are more pronounced in the morning. The accompanying pain can be slight to severe, and it may travel down to the buttocks through the upper thigh. Facet arthritis can also cause joint stiffness and/or swelling, tenderness in the affected area and muscle weakness.
Contact your health care provider if you experience difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, or if you feel pain or swelling in your joints. Your physician can confirm that your symptoms are due to arthritis and not a more serious problem. Also, review our facet disease treatments page for tips on how to reduce pain and swelling through 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 a free review of your MRI or CT scan, and our minimally invasive outpatient procedures are more effective alternatives to traditional open back surgery. Contact us today to learn how we can help you find relief from your neck or back pain.