Facet disease causes include participation in sports

Participation in certain sports, especially contact or high-impact sports, is a common facet disease cause. While the single biggest contributing factor to facet disease is the natural aging process, any activity that puts undue strain on the spine can accelerate the degeneration of the spinal facet joints. While playing a specific sport doesn’t directly cause facet disease, it can make a person more likely to develop the condition.

How high-impact sports contribute to facet disease

Facet disease is a condition that affects the joints linking the vertebrae in the spinal column. In a healthy spine, the facet joints are lined with a thin layer of cartilage that allows them to glide against one another comfortably without friction.

However with age the joint cartilage can begin to wear out, which causes bone-on-bone contact and joint inflammation. In addition to local aches, pain and stiffness, the increased friction can lead to the development of bone spurs that can narrow nerve passages in the spinal column and potentially cause painful nerve compression.

Sports can contribute to the onset of facet disease because certain activities accelerate the deterioration of the spinal anatomy as a result of excessive stress. Here are some examples of sports that tend to take a toll on the facet joints, particularly in the neck and back:

  • Football
  • Golf
  • Rugby
  • Tennis
  • Hockey
  • Running
  • Weightlifting
  • Gymnastics

Treatment options

If you have been diagnosed with facet disease and are concerned about your ability to continue to play the sports you love, it is important to understand there are many treatment options at your disposal. A large number of patients diagnosed with facet disease are able to find the relief for a good quality of life through conservative treatments like rest, avoiding high-impact sports or practicing them more safely, medication, physical therapy and epidural steroid injections. You may be referred to consult with a spine surgeon, however, if weeks or months of conservative treatment aren’t effective in relieving your symptoms.

At Laser Spine Institute we specialize in minimally invasive spine surgery that is performed on an outpatient basis. To learn how we can help you overcome your discomfort with one of our state-of-the-art treatments, which provides a shorter recovery period compared to traditional open spine procedures, reach out to our dedicated team today.

We are happy to offer a no-cost MRI or CT scan review* to help you determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.