Six symptoms of facet syndrome in the lower back

Facet syndrome is a type of degenerative spinal condition that is most often related to the gradual deterioration the spine undergoes during the natural aging process. The facet joints serve as the connection point for the vertebrae in the spine, and allow us to bend and twist freely. However, many years of day-to-day use can lead to the gradual breakdown of cartilage in the facet joints and cause bone to grind against bone, leading to the development of facet syndrome. This condition occurs most often in the lumbar spine (lower back) because this area of the spine supports the most weight.

Symptoms that can develop because of facet syndrome

There are a variety of symptoms that can develop due to facet syndrome in the lower back. Some are the direct result of the loss of cartilage in the facet joint, while others can manifest if a bone spur develops in the joint and puts pressure on a nearby nerve root. Some examples include:

  • Lower back stiffness
  • Localized pain and inflammation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Pain that radiates to the hips, legs or feet

If you are experiencing symptoms similar to these and want to find out if facet syndrome might be the cause, your doctor can provide a thorough examination to determine the source of your discomfort. In most cases, a review of your family history, a physical exam and an imaging procedure will be needed to provide an accurate diagnosis.

Treating facet syndrome in the lower back

If facet syndrome symptoms are causing you daily discomfort, the good news is that there are a variety of conservative treatment options that may help you find relief. Physical therapy, periods of rest, anti-inflammatory medications and hot/cold therapy are some of the possibilities your doctor may recommend, as well as lifestyle changes to help reduce the amount of strain on your spine.

If conservative treatments don’t produce the desired results, you may want to have a free MRI review* to find out if you are a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute. Our outpatient procedures offer shorter recovery periods than open spine operations, and our patients are up and walking within a few hours after surgery.^ Contact Laser Spine Institute today if you would like to learn more about our facet syndrome treatment options.