Posterior facet syndrome

Posterior facet syndrome (facet disease) is a degenerative spine condition that occurs when arthritis develops in the facet joints.

The facet joints are the pivotal joints that connect the vertebrae and allow them to bend and hinge, giving movement to the spine. As arthritis develops in these joints, they become inflamed and stiff, limiting mobility and making each movement painful.

This condition is typically associated with the regular aging process and is frequently experienced later in life as the facet joints deteriorate from years of wear and tear.

Facet joint deterioration

The facet joints are important structures in the spinal column and are responsible for stabilizing the neck and back while allowing for flexion, extension and the ability to pivot and rotate.

These sliding joints have a layer of cartilage over the top and lubricating fluid to allow the vertebrae to rotate in a smooth, comfortable motion. Posterior facet syndrome develops when this cartilage gradually wears away and leads to bone-on-bone contact, causing inflammation and the development of bone spurs around the joint.

Treating osteoarthritis

Initial treatment for posterior facet syndrome is attempted with a variety of nonsurgical, conservative procedures designed to reduce the symptoms of pain and stiffness by removing pressure from the joint. While conservative treatment is often effective for this condition, in some cases, spine surgery is recommended.

Common conservative treatments include:

  • The application of heat or ice
  • Deep tissue massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga or Pilates
  • Pain medication or corticosteroid injections
  • Physical therapy and low-impact exercise
  • Healthy diet and posture improvement

For patients who are recommended to have spine surgery, we encourage you to research the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute. Our procedures are safer and more effective than traditional open back surgery, and our patients experience a shorter recovery time§ and lower risk of complication.

Our minimally invasive facet thermal ablation is often used to treat facet disease by reducing the inflammation in the joint and numbing the surrounding nerves to help prevent future pain. A decompression or stabilization surgery may also be recommended to treat any other damage in your spine caused by osteoarthritis. Our decompression surgery is used to treat many cases of moderate and sometimes severe spine conditions, while our stabilization surgery is recommended to treat spine conditions that have damaged the stability of the spine.

To learn more about how our minimally invasive spine surgery can help treat posterior facet syndrome, contact Laser Spine Institute today.

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