Facet disease prevention

Facet disease prevention can help you avoid the debilitating pain of this degenerative condition. The lifestyle changes that play a role in prevention can also have a positive effect on your overall health. Whether you are at risk for the development of facet disease or have already been diagnosed and are looking to slow its progress, learning about these preventive measures through the following article can give you a much better chance of getting back to a healthy and active lifestyle.

The anatomy of facet disease

Facet disease involves the gradual deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the facet joints that link the bones in the spine. With age, the body dries out and cartilage deteriorates and begins to wear down. This leads to bone-on-bone contact and joint inflammation that can be diagnosed as spinal osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of facet disease include pain associated with bending, lifting or twisting as well as sitting at the computer for prolonged periods of time. Bone spurs can also develop as a natural stabilizing response to friction. These growths can put pressure on the spinal cord or a nerve root, leading to additional symptoms of pain in the neck or back, throbbing, spontaneous joint lockage, tingling, numbness and weakness that travels the length of the affected nerve.

Simple steps for facet disease prevention

One of the biggest things you can do to prevent the onset or worsening of facet disease is to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Immobility causes reduced circulation and muscle mass while at the same time the increase in weight puts pressure on the spine. Inactivity can also cause joint stiffness and decreased flexibility. To avoid all of these risks, it’s important that you:

  • Stay fit and active
  • Walk, swim or perform lighter strength training to strengthen the heart and supporting muscles
  • Eat a healthy diet to help with joint lubrication, autoimmune response and weight management
  • Reduce stress with sessions of meditation or yoga
  • Avoid tobacco use and limit alcohol consumption, which can decrease circulation and dry out the joints

Treatment for facet disease

For those diagnosed with facet disease, most doctors will prescribe a course of conservative treatment to manage symptoms. Options like physical therapy, massage and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are effective for many patients in relieving symptoms. Because of the risks that can come with traditional open back surgery, it usually considered when conservative treatments have been exhausted.

If you are considering surgery but are concerned about the two- to five-day hospital stay, large muscle-tearing incisions and long recovery periods that are associated with traditional procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute. We are the leaders in minimally invasive spine surgery and helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck and back pain while achieving a patient satisfaction score of 98.^

Our outpatient procedures use a small incision that is muscle sparing to treat facet disease symptoms while offering a shorter recovery period and reducing the risk of complication compared to traditional open back surgery.^ Reach out to us for your free MRI review* to learn if you are a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery. We are here to help you regain your quality of life from this condition.