Facet syndrome prevention

The primary risk factor for facet syndrome is something outside of our control — aging. While there are other risk factors, like lifestyle choices and genetics, the most common cause of facet disease is the natural aging and deterioration of the spine.

Over time, the wear and tear caused by years of bending, flexing and twisting causes the protective layer of cartilage within the facet joints of the spine to deteriorate. As the layer of cartilage wears down, the vertebrae begin to collide with one another, causing bone-on-bone friction, which can lead to inflammation of the joints and development of bone spurs.

Understanding what causes facet syndrome and the risk factors for this condition can help you make certain lifestyle choices to improve your overall spine health in the hopes of avoiding this condition.

What is facet syndrome?

Facet syndrome is a form of osteoarthritis that affects the facet joints of the spine.

Facet joints are the hinges that connect the vertebrae of the spine. These joints allow the vertebrae to pivot and move, giving mobility and flexibility to the spine. Over time, however, each movement begins to gradually wear down the protective layer of cartilage around the facet joint, which leads to inflammation and pain, as described above.

The aging process is the main risk factor for facet syndrome because of this natural breakdown of the cartilage on the facet joints and the resulting friction of the vertebrae.

Prevention and treatment of facet syndrome

While aging cannot be prevented, certain lifestyle choices may help curb your odds of developing facet disease. These lifestyle choices for overall spine health include:

  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Eating a nutritional diet
  • Not smoking
  • Exercising regularly
  • Not abusing alcohol

These lifestyle choices do not guarantee facet joint syndrome will be avoided, but it can increase your overall spine health, which will give you the best fighting chance against developing this condition.

If you do develop facet syndrome, however, your physician can help you find pain relief by prescribing a series of conservative treatment, often including:

  • Physical therapy
  • Hot/cold compresses
  • Massage therapy
  • Stretching and yoga
  • Pain medication

Other treatment options, if conservative treatment is ineffective, include the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute. We offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery, and our patients experience a shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of complication.

While many cases of facet disease can be treated with a facet thermal ablation procedure, our team will assess the best way to address any additional damage in your spine from the breakdown of the facet joints, such as the development of a bone spur or other degenerative spine conditions.

For more information about the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute, contact us today.