Facet hypertrophy usually occurs in people over the age of thirty. Hypertrophy pertains to an enlargement of one or more facet joints — the joints which link your spine’s vertebrae together, providing flexibility and motion. Over time, or due to traumatic injury, these joints degenerate and can cause painful effects. For people suffering from facet hypertrophy, their joints may become enlarged to the point that spinal nerves come under pressure.
The joint enlargement of facet hypertrophy is typically caused by the body’s own healing mechanisms; in an attempt to make deteriorating facet joints stronger, the body will encourage the addition of bone tissue on the joints. This reaction, however, makes the joints larger and increases pressure in surrounding areas. To educate yourself further on the issues related to the breakdown of these joints, visit our degenerative facet joints page
Although facet hypertrophy is most common in the lumbar area of your back, it can protrude into the spinal canal and place pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots. At this stage, patients tend to adjust their posture to avoid the pain from pressure, which may exacerbate the situation and cause problems in other areas of the spinal column. Other effects include:
- Joint swelling
- Decreased mobility
- Discomfort when leaning backwards
- Hunched back
If you experience any of these symptoms, and you feel your pain is due to facet hypertrophy, speak with your healthcare provider. He or she can determine what is causing your discomfort and can recommend treatment options like non-prescription medications, proper exercises, posture tips and osteopathic manipulations. You can also learn other treatment tips by visiting our facet disease treatments page.
There are times, however, that patients diagnosed with facet hypertrophy need more relief than standard treatment provides. Thankfully, there is another option available! Laser Spine Institute offers outpatient, minimally invasive procedures that provide a quicker recuperation time than other treatments like open-back surgery. For a free CT scan or MRI review and to learn more information about our facilities, contact us today.