Understanding facet disease types and how to address them

Facet Disease

There are a variety of facet disease types that can cause neck pain, back pain and general discomfort, and an assortment of treatment options are available to address these symptoms. Facet disease occurs in your facet joints, which are located between your spinal vertebrae and allow your spine to bend and flex, enabling you to tie your shoes, plant flowers, pick up grandchildren and do a whole host of other activities. Over time, the facet joints can become stressed or damaged as a result of normal wear and tear, because of an injury to the neck or back, or because of the degeneration of an intervertebral disc. The cartilage that coats the joint can eventually break down as well — a condition commonly known as “facet disease.” Friction and swelling in the joint may occur as a result, irritating the nerves in the area and causing pain, stiffness and/or tenderness.

Cervical and lumbar facet disease types

With facet disease, the types of symptoms vary, depending on where along the spinal column the issue has arisen. For instance, if the worn-out facet joint is located in the neck, or cervical region, you may experience discomfort in your neck, upper back or shoulders. Headaches can also occur with cervical facet joint problems. The lumbar region, or lower back, is also vulnerable to facet joint problems. When this region of the spine is affected, you may feel pain or stiffness in your lower back. Unlike other degenerative spine conditions like herniated discs and bone spurs, none of the various facet disease types usually result in pain that extends into the lower legs and feet.

What can be done?

If facet disease is the suspected cause of your discomfort, your doctor may order a physical examination, facet joint injections and maybe even an MRI or CT scan to determine the full extent of your spinal degeneration. Treatment may begin with simple pain-alleviation efforts, such as a combination of stretches, exercises and over-the-counter pain medications. Regardless of the facet disease types people experience, these methods can effectively offer relief.

For others, however, more specialized treatment options may be suggested. Laser Spine Institute has the experienced surgeons and advanced technology necessary to address the various facet disease types that occur, and can do so without a lengthy hospital stay or recovery time. Contact us today to learn more about the ways in which we can help alleviate your neck and back pain and return you to the active life you enjoy.