Symptoms and causes of facet syndrome

Also known as facet disease or osteoarthritis of the spine, facet syndrome is a fairly common condition that can affect the joints in the spine. Facet joints are present along the length of the spine between vertebrae. They provide stability to the spine while also allowing movements that involve the neck and back, including leaning, bending and twisting. When age or other factors cause a facet joint to deteriorate, it can result in pain and other symptoms. Read on to learn more about the symptoms and causes associated with facet syndrome as well as the treatments you can undergo that will help you find lasting relief.

Facet syndrome symptoms

The symptoms of facet syndrome will generally be felt at the location of the affected facet joint. The condition can appear in the cervical spine (upper back), thoracic spine (mid back) or lumbar spine (lower back) and is characterized by:

  • Aches and sporadic pain
  • Tenderness
  • Inflammation of the facet joint
  • Difficulty twisting or leaning
  • Stiffness
  • Headaches

In some cases, bone spurs may develop on the affected vertebrae as the body tries to stabilize the area. These bony growths may also cause pain if they encroach on the space where the spinal cord or nerve roots are located. In these situations, pain, numbness or tingling may radiate out to an extremity, depending on the pathway of the affected nerve.

Facet syndrome causes

You may be wondering what happened that caused these various symptoms to appear. One of the most common causes of facet syndrome is the natural aging process combined with the constant use of the spinal column. Over the years, the spine endures a lot of wear as it supports the body and allows us to move freely.

Eventually, the cartilage on the facet joints deteriorate and the vertebral bones come in contact with each other, causing pain and inflammation. Other factors may also contribute to developing this condition, including genetic predisposition, obesity, a traumatic injury, poor posture, playing high-impact sports or having a physically demanding career.

Facet syndrome treatments at Laser Spine Institute

Many patients with facet syndrome seek treatment at Laser Spine Institute when conservative treatment options such as pain medication, physical therapy and chiropractic manipulation do not provide the relief they need. Our surgeons are highly experienced in minimally invasive spine surgery and have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from their spinal conditions. To find out if you’re a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure at Laser Spine Institute, reach out to our dedicated team for a no-cost MRI review.*

The board-certified surgeons+ at Laser Spine Institute perform our minimally invasive spine surgery in state-of-the-art facilities that are built around patient-centered care. Our procedures use a less than 1-inch incision that does not unnecessarily disrupt the muscles and ligaments near the spine. Contact us today with any questions or concerns you may have about our outpatient procedures and how we can help you get back the activities you love.