Lumbar facet joint syndrome

Lumbar facet joint syndrome is a spine condition that develops in the lower back as the cartilage on the facet joints wears down.

The facet joints are located in between the vertebrae and allow the spine to bend and rotate. Because the lumbar region of the spine is highly flexible and supports most of the body’s weight, it is particularly susceptible to developing facet joint syndrome and other degenerative spinal conditions.

This condition can cause individuals to experience pain, tenderness and difficulty performing certain movements — especially movements that involve bending and twisting the lower back.

Treating facet joint syndrome in the lower back

This syndrome can oftentimes be treated with conservative, nonsurgical therapies, such as:

  • The use of medication — Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), pain medications and muscle relaxants can reduce inflammation and provide relief. It is important to note that a physician or pharmacist should be consulted before taking any medication in order to prevent serious complications and drug interactions.
  • Behavior modification — Practicing proper lifting techniques can help to protect the lower back and prevent further aggravation to the facet joints. Taking measures to avoid excessive stretching, bending and twisting can also help to ease the symptoms of facet joint syndrome.
  • Physical therapy — Well-guided exercise can help to strengthen the spine and improve flexibility in the neck and back. Careful, strategic movement can also help to increase circulation, which may help to promote healing. And, finally, stretching exercises for the spine can temporarily increase space between the vertebrae, which helps to relieve pressure and pain.

Minimally invasive, outpatient procedures

If several weeks or months of conservative treatments fail to provide relief, your doctor may recommend surgery. While traditional open neck or back surgery can require a lengthy recovery and is associated with many risks, including failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS), there are other options such as the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute.

Contact us today to learn more about the treatment options available to you. We can provide a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.