Four treatment options to explore if you have facet disease
A physician’s recommendations for facet disease treatment depend on a variety of factors, ranging from the severity of the patient’s symptoms to his or her overall health. If you’re interested in learning about all the options available to treat your facet disease symptoms, it’s important that you talk with your physician to get a personalized treatment plan. Here, we’ll tell you about the most commonly recommended treatment options for people with facet disease, so you can get an idea of what may be available to you.
Option No. 1: Physical therapy
Many people find that physical therapy helps with their facet disease symptoms because it is intended to specifically target the muscles that surround the affected portion of the spine. By strengthening these muscles to facilitate spine movement, patients receive more support for their spinal column, which can take some pressure off the inflamed facet joints. Targeted stretching is also helpful for providing temporary relief from symptoms.
Option No. 2: Medication
Medication is most often prescribed in conjunction with other facet disease treatment methods. It can help manage symptoms to make daily tasks more bearable for patients, but it has the added benefit of allowing people to explore the other treatment options that may not have been available to them before. For example, sometimes-intense pain can deter patients from stretching, exercising, attending physical therapy and taking other potentially beneficial steps to finding lasting relief. The most commonly recommended type of medication is over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, a broad category of medications that includes aspirin and ibuprofen) that combat inflammation — a key aspect of fighting facet disease.
Option No. 3: Exercise
Keeping active is very important when you have facet disease, but be sure to ask your physician about any activities you should avoid. For many patients, heavy weightlifting is a particularly bad idea, as are high-impact sports because they can easily worsen spine problems. Physicians often recommend aerobic exercise as a way to increase circulation and improve overall health. Bodyweight exercises, which require muscles to work against the weight of the body itself rather than external weights, can be useful for strengthening muscles, as long as patients stay away from movements that call for twisting or bending the spine too much. After all, damaging the spine is the last thing you’d want to do when seeking facet disease treatment.
Option No. 4: Surgery
Of course, surgery shouldn’t be considered immediately as a facet disease treatment option. Patients should first look into different conservative treatments to see if they can find a nonsurgical solution to their symptoms. If, however, they have trouble managing their pain and problems after weeks or months of trying these methods, surgery could be advisable.
If you have tried other facet disease treatment options and are thinking about surgery, consider the minimally invasive spine surgery performed by the experienced surgeons at Laser Spine Institute. Our outpatient procedures offer several advantages versus traditional open-back surgery, including no lengthy recovery time.^ Contact us today for more information.