Lumbar facet syndrome symptoms and treatments

Lumbar facet syndrome is a type of osteoarthritis that affects the lumbar (lower) facet joints. Facet joints are the structures in your spine that connect adjacent vertebrae to create movement and allow you to bend and twist your neck and back. They’re coated in a smooth cartilage that prevents the bones from grinding against each other when you move. As people age, the cartilage in facet joints can wear down, resulting in pain and discomfort.

When the facet joints in the lower back deteriorate, the result is lumbar facet syndrome. The lower back is particularly vulnerable to this type of gradual degeneration because it is one of the most flexible regions of the spine, supports the entire upper body and is subjected to more stress over time than other parts of the spine. Learn more about the symptoms and treatments options for a lumbar facet syndrome in the following article.

Lumbar facet syndrome symptoms

Symptoms associated with facet syndrome are typically localized to facet joints in the affected region of the spine. For example, when the facet joints in the lumbar region deteriorate and become damaged, patients may experience an aching lower back pain, stiffness and difficulty twisting, leaning backward or bearing heavy loads. Lumbar facet syndrome might also lead to the formation of bone spurs in the lower spine that compresses nerve roots or the spinal cord. In turn, this could cause pain in the lower back that radiates to the buttocks and upper thigh area.

Lumbar facet syndrome treatments

Neck and back pain are fairly common symptoms with many different causes. Patients must obtain an accurate diagnosis from their physician in order to receive the correct treatments. A physician can easily pinpoint the presence of facet syndrome by performing a physical examination, reviewing the patient’s medical history, taking X-rays, MRIs or CT scans or administering a diagnostic facet injection.

Treatments offered to patients with facet syndrome are usually conservative remedies that are designed to reduce the symptoms and improve the patient’s quality of life. These methods include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic manipulation
  • Hot/cold compression therapy
  • Steroidal anti-inflammatories like Prednisone
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Aleve
  • Resting the neck and back to reduce inflammation and relieve joint pressure

If you have been diagnosed with facet syndrome and are experiencing persistent symptoms that fail to get better with conservative treatments, then you may be a candidate for surgery. At Laser Spine Institute, our minimally invasive spine surgery has a patient satisfaction score of 98, ^ which speaks to our commitment to providing exceptional service to each and every one of our patients.

Our outpatient procedures provide patients with a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery, ^ through the use of a less than 1-inch incision and muscle-sparing techniques. We have helped over 75,000 patients since 2005 find lasting relief from their chronic neck and back conditions, such as lumbar facet syndrome.

Through a no-cost MRI review,* our team of dedicated surgeons will be able to determine if we offer a surgical option to relieve your debilitating condition. To learn more about the types of minimally invasive procedures we offer to help treat lumbar facet syndrome, contact us today. We are here to help guide you through your journey to wellness.