Treatment and prevention strategies for facet syndrome
There are many treatment options and strategies for facet syndrome to help slow the process of facet joint degeneration and promote spine health. While facet syndrome is not a reversible condition, it is possible to minimize the amount of stress that is placed on the spine while also addressing symptoms caused by breakdown of the facet joints.
Facet syndrome is a term for inflammation that occurs when the cartilage in between the facet joints gradually starts to wear down. As the cartilage degenerates, the surfaces of the facet joints can grind against each other, leading to pain and inflammation. The friction can also cause the body to produce bone spurs, which can cause additional symptoms if they compress a nearby nerve root or the spinal cord.
Preventing facet syndrome
Although there’s no way to completely prevent the development of facet syndrome, it is possible to help keep the spine as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Methods of prevention include:
- Avoiding tobacco products
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining good posture
- Eating a healthy diet
These and other factors can all improve spine health and help reduce the chances of facet joint degeneration.
Conservative and surgical treatment for facet syndrome
Since it’s not possible to undo spinal degeneration, most initial forms of facet syndrome treatment are aimed at relieving the symptoms caused by the condition. Medications, physical therapy, hot/cold therapy and other conservative options can be quite effective. Complementary and alternative therapies, such as acupuncture and chiropractic care, are also reported to be helpful by some patients.
Surgery for facet syndrome becomes an option if a full course of conservative treatment has been attempted without bringing the results necessary for a good quality of life. At Laser Spine Institute, we perform minimally invasive spine surgery that is an alternative to traditional open neck or back procedures. By using muscle-sparing techniques, our procedures have a shorter recovery time^ and offer a streamlined outpatient experience compared to traditional open spine surgery.