The facet disease diagnosis process

If you have been suffering from the pain and symptoms of facet disease — symptoms of stiffness, pain and limited mobility — you should consult your physician about a treatment method to help you get your life back. Facet disease can prevent you from the active lifestyle you enjoy; sometimes it can even prevent you from your daily chores and activities. It’s time to take the next step to recapture your quality of life by scheduling an appointment with your physician to determine the cause and severity of your condition.

In order to receive an accurate facet disease diagnosis, it is important to visit a physician when you are experiencing chronic neck or back pain. Your physician will give you a physical exam to measure your symptoms, identify the cause of your condition and recommend a treatment plan to help you find pain relief.

Diagnosing facet disease

The reason that a medical professional must make a facet disease diagnosis is because many of the symptoms associated with facet disease can also be caused by other spine conditions. Back pain, for example, could be caused by something as simple as a sprain or strain, or the presence of a herniated disc or other spine conditions.

Generally speaking, here is what you can expect from the facet disease diagnosis process:

  • Review of your medical history — A physician will review your medical history to determine if your lifestyle has contributed to your current pain. This information will also be used when recommending a treatment for your pain.
  • Review of your family’s medical history — Osteoarthritis (arthritis of the spine) is a common cause of facet disease and is believed to have a genetic component, so a physician will also review your family’s medical history to determine whether you are predisposed.
  • Discussion about the symptoms — A physician will ask about your symptoms, when the condition started, whether any treatments have been effective and other similar questions to gain a better understanding.
  • Exam — A physician will examine the area around the neck or back and test range of motion.
  • Imagery — An X-ray, MRI or CT scan may be recommended to confirm the presence of osteoarthritis and ensure that another underlying issue isn’t to blame for your symptoms.

Treatment for facet disease

The final stage of the facet disease diagnosis process is to discuss treatment options. Many physicians have found that conservative, nonsurgical treatments are often effective in reducing the pain of facet disease. These treatments, such as physical therapy, stretching and lifestyle changes, help relieve pressure on a pinched nerve near the facet joints that is causing your pain.

However, if these treatments do not provide lasting pain relief over several months, you should research the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute. Unlike traditional open back surgery that has an increased risk of infection and complications, as well as an extended recovery time, our minimally invasive spine surgery has a lower risk, higher patient satisfaction rate and shorter recovery time.^

Specifically for patients with facet disease, we offer a minimally invasive facet thermal ablation procedure. This procedure removes the swelling and inflammation from your facet joints, thereby reducing the pressure on the nearby pinched nerve. Once this pressure is reduced, the surgeons deaden a few of the surrounding nerves to help prevent pain in the future.

To see if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today and request a review of your MRI report or CT scan.