Facet joint degenerative disease
Although facet joint degenerative disease affects millions of people worldwide, adults over the age of 50 are particularly susceptible to this condition.
This is because degenerative joint disease (DJD) often occurs with the natural degeneration of the spine. Over time, components of the spine undergo pressure and general wear and tear, which can sometimes cause the joints in the spine to wear down. When this happens, other degenerative conditions, like bone spurs, can occur and press into nearby nerve roots. In addition to the natural aging process of the spine, a variety of other factors can contribute to this condition, including obesity, genetic predisposition and lifestyle. Overall, though, the aging process is the most common cause of facet joint degeneration.
When this condition causes nerve compression, pain symptoms can occur. General symptoms of degeneration can include throbbing, tenderness or aching at the site of the diseased joint. If you have facet joint degeneration, you also may experience unusual locking of the joints, such as arching your back and then feeling as if you can’t fully straighten it out. Curvature of the spine can also result in more severe cases of persistent inflammation. Another symptom, referred to as “crepitus,” involves a crunching sensation and is the result of bone rubbing against bone because the facet joint cartilage has disintegrated.
Treatment for facet joint degenerative disease
Conservative treatment may be all you need to manage your symptoms of facet joint degenerative disease. For instance, with a physician’s permission, simple exercises can help you maintain flexibility and mobility. Try activities that won’t put too much stress on the joints, like swimming or walking on a treadmill. Exercise also can lead to weight loss, which can help reduce joint pain.
Mild chiropractic work can increase circulation in the affected area, while also releasing tension from the surrounding muscles and ligaments. A numbing facet joint injection can not only help your physician to pinpoint the diseased joint, but a direct injection of anti-inflammatory steroids can reduce pain so that exercise is more manageable. Furthermore, your physician may recommend hot packs, cold packs, physical therapy, and a combination of over-the-counter and prescription medications.
If you feel that facet joint degenerative disease is adversely affecting your life, the experts at Laser Spine Institute may be able to help. We perform a variety of minimally invasive procedures using the latest minimally invasive technology. Our minimally invasive decompression surgery can relieve nerve compression while our minimally invasive stabilization surgery helps to restore strength and stability to the spine.
For more information about our minimally invasive procedures and how we can treat degenerative joint disease, contact the spine care team at Laser Spine Institute and send over your MRI report or CT scan for our review.