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 and longevity. 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 preventative measures can give you a much better chance of getting back to a healthy, 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 also be diagnosed as spinal osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of facet disease include pain, throbbing and spontaneous joint lockage. 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. This can lead to additional symptoms of pain, 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 often-associated 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 physicians will prescribe a course of conservative treatment to manage symptoms. Options like physical therapy, massage and recommended dosages of anti-inflammatory medication 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 overnight hospitalization, large muscle-tearing incisions and long recovery periods that are associated with traditional procedures, reach out to 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 96 satisfaction rate.^ Our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures can treat facet disease symptoms while offering a shorter recovery period^ and reducing the risk of complication compared to traditional open back surgery. Contact us today for your no-cost MRI review* to learn if you are a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery.