The most common facet disease symptoms

There are a number of facet disease symptoms that may be experienced as a result of deterioration of the spinal facet joints. These symptoms range in severity and location depending on the specific joint affected, as well as factors like the development of nerve compression.

While symptoms caused by facet disease can be debilitating and affect your everyday activities and quality of life, there are a number of treatments available to maintain or improve range of motion and manage your discomfort.

Facet disease overview and common symptoms

Facet disease is a type of osteoarthritis that affects the facet joints that connect adjacent vertebrae and provide both mobility and spinal stability. This condition can develop at any level of the spine, but is most common in the lumbar (lower) and cervical (upper) regions, where flexibility and weight burden are most significant. While traumatic injury, obesity, poor posture and frequent bending, twisting and lifting can accelerate the onset of facet disease, the most common cause of osteoarthritis in the spine is the natural aging process.

As we grow older, the cartilage that coats the facet joints in the spine naturally begins to deteriorate as a result of years of wear and tear combined with loss of water content. Eventually, facet disease can occur due to joint inflammation from the increased friction, which can lead to a number of facet disease symptoms, including:

  • Chronic pain near the arthritic joint — often worse in the morning or after sitting in one place for an extended period of time
  • Pain that seems to radiate along a nerve
  • Joint stiffness or soreness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness or a tingling sensation
  • Headaches

Treatment for facet disease symptoms

Effective treatment options for facet disease symptoms vary from patient to patient and depend on a number of factors, such as your age, overall health and the severity of your pain and mobility problems. In many cases doctors will first suggest some combination of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, stretching techniques, heat therapy and cold compression.

In the event that a full course of conservative treatment fails to provide you with the pain relief you require, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about the numerous advantages of our minimally invasive spine surgery. These outpatient procedures involve a less than 1-inch incision and offer a lower risk of complication and a shorter recovery time compared to traditional open neck or back procedures.

Contact our dedicated team of Spine Care Consultants today for a review of your MRI or CT scan, provided to you at no cost,* so you can find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.