Three ways to minimize the effects of facet disease

Facet disease — a term for arthritis of the spine — is irreversible, but there are ways to address the symptoms it causes and minimize its effects. In fact, most people who have damage to the facet joints in the spine can find some relief and possibly slow the progression of the condition through certain lifestyle changes. For example, managing your weight, improving posture and avoiding activities that might harm the neck or back can all be helpful.

1. Weight management

Being overweight or obese can place tremendous strain on the spine. The parts of the spine already endure the twisting, turning and bending that occurs during normal daily activities like sitting, standing and walking. Excess weight can make these motions even more stressful, potentially worsening the symptoms of facet disease. Losing weight can help to relieve some of the symptoms of facet disease. If necessary, talk to your doctor about developing a weight-loss plan that involves good nutrition, portion control and regular exercise.

2. Posture improvement

Many people have less-than-perfect posture, particularly when they are at rest. Poor posture, however, can have a negative impact on the spine, especially if it is already affected by facet disease. For that reason, it is important to actively correct posture during all of your daily activities including household chores, driving and sitting at work. Practicing good posture while sleeping can also be important toward minimizing the effects of spine damage. The spine should be kept in a straight, neutral position whenever possible — that means avoiding slouching while awake and properly supporting the neck and small of the back while sleeping.

3. Avoiding certain activities

While low-impact physical activity can be helpful for relieving the symptoms of facet disease, participating in high-impact activities can be more harmful than helpful. For example, using improper form while doing heavy lifting can be very damaging to already weakened spinal elements. The same holds true for activities that involve repetitive stress to the spine through twisting or bending. Such motions include golf swings, baseball pitch windups and other similar movements that strain specific areas of the spine repeatedly. Limiting the use of those motions can help minimize the facet joint damage.

Additional facet disease treatments

Other methods of minimizing the effects of facet disease could include taking over-the-counter or prescription drugs, physical therapy, and, in certain cases, surgery. Laser Spine Institute specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery to help address facet joint problems and other degenerative spine conditions. Contact us to learn about our procedures and why they are safer and effective alternatives to open spine surgery.^

We’re happy to provide a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.