Symptoms of facet syndrome

Need answers to your facet syndrome symptoms? Laser Spine Institute is here to help.

Facet syndrome symptoms manifest in a variety of ways, often similar to the symptoms associated with other spinal conditions which makes diagnosing this condition difficult. Complicating matters further, facet syndrome is also known by several other names, including facet joint disease or spinal osteoarthritis.

The basic definition of facet syndrome is the wearing away of the smooth articular cartilage that lines the spinal joints, which allows the exposed articular surfaces of these joints to rub together. This bone-on-bone contact results in inflammation, which may stimulate the formation of bone spurs. Read on to learn about the signs of facet syndrome as well as methods for diagnosing and treating this condition.

Signs of facet syndrome

The cervical and lumbar regions of the spine are particularly susceptible to this type of deterioration because these spinal areas are the most flexible and are subjected to the most stress over a lifetime. Facet syndrome symptoms can include:

  • Aches and sporadic pain
  • Tenderness near the inflamed joint
  • Headaches
  • Facet joint inflammation
  • Difficulty bending, twisting or bearing heavy loads
  • Stiffness, particularly first thing in the morning

Diagnosing facet syndrome

After performing a thorough physical exam and completing a review of your medical history, a physician may take X-rays, an MRI or CT scan to confirm the diagnosis of facet syndrome. A facet joint injection can be another useful tool to pinpoint the location of the issue. With this method, medication is injected into the joint believed to be causing pain. If the patient notices immediate pain relief, it can be assumed that the correct joint was targeted and more specific treatment options can be recommended.

Treating facet syndrome

Physicians initially prescribe conservative treatments in an effort to alleviate facet syndrome symptoms. Typically, options such as physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, chiropractic care and pain medications will result in some form of relief for patients. However, if several weeks or months of conservative treatments fail to provide adequate symptomatic relief, surgery may be recommended.

Please consider the minimally invasive procedures offered at Laser Spine Institute. Our small incisions and muscle-sparing techniques allow our board-certified surgeons+ to perform procedures on an outpatient basis with reduced risk of complications and a shorter recovery period^ compared to traditional open spine surgery. For more information about our procedures, contact us today.

As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, we have helped more than 75,000 patients find lasting relief from their chronic facet syndrome symptoms. To find out if our procedures would be effective for you, reach out to our team today. Through a free MRI review,* we can determine if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.