Quick guide to facet disease treatment

What is facet disease?

Facet joints allow the spine to move smoothly. They are located between the individual vertebrae of the spine and connect the vertebrae to each other. Most vertebrae have two facet joints, one on each side. The facet joints are lined with cartilage that helps to cushion the joints. The cartilage also prevents bones from rubbing against one another.

Over time, through the aging process and natural wear and tear, the cartilage within the facet joints can cause painful symptoms. Without an adequate amount of cartilage, the facet joint can become unstable. This condition is called facet disease and is also referred to as facet joint syndrome and facet arthritis. Facet disease most commonly affects the lower back but can occur anywhere in the spine.

Facet disease symptoms most commonly include lower back pain that can radiate through the buttocks and to the thighs, inflammation, stiffness, localized pain and tenderness, muscle spasms or loss of flexibility.

What causes facet disease?

The primary cause of facet disease is the natural aging process and the accumulated stress and wear and tear on the body. There are several factors that can contribute to facet disease or increase your chances of developing facet disease, including:

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Being inactive
  • Injury from a high-impact sport
  • Injury from a motor vehicle accident
  • Injury from a fall
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Performing manual labor or repetitive movements
  • Spondylolisthesis

By making lifestyle changes and eliminating some of the risk factors above, you may be able to reduce your chances of developing facet disease. If you already have facet disease you can proactively manage your condition and work to reduce the symptoms and severity of your condition.

Facet disease treatment

In most cases, facet disease treatment begins as a conservative approach before surgical options are explored. Conservative treatment can help to relieve pain and discomfort. Over-the-counter pain medication can help to reduce inflammation and pain caused by facet disease and allow you to fully participate in physical therapy. The goal of exercise and physical therapy is to strengthen the muscles that support the spine and shed any excess weight. Lifestyle changes can also help with facet disease, such as limiting alcohol, quitting smoking and avoiding high-impact activities.

If conservative treatment options have been unsuccessful, Laser Spine Institute may be able to help relieve your symptoms with minimally invasive surgery. Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about our minimally invasive spine surgery as a safer and effective treatment option for facet disease.^

Contact our dedicated team of Spine Care Consultants today for a no-cost MRI review* to help determine if you are a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures.