Facet syndrome can cause pain in the joints of the spine, potentially leading to radiating nerve pain affecting the extremities. There are several strategies that can effectively manage pain, although it often takes some trial and error to find a solution to meet your unique needs. If you have been diagnosed with facet syndrome it is recommended to work closely with your doctor to find the right combination of treatment that works for you.
The following four recommendations are typically made for patients trying to ease facet syndrome symptoms and are intended to help you develop an effective pain management plan.
1. Taking medication
Many people manage their facet syndrome pain through the use of medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Because these medications help reduce inflammation, a key source of facet joint pain, they are a common suggestion.
2. Using ice and heat therapy
Applying cold compression to a painful area of the neck or back numbs the area and can relieve inflammation, while using a heat source can improve circulation to the area and potentially help the body heal while relaxing painful muscle spasms. Your doctor may recommend using one or both of these facet syndrome treatment methods to address joint pain.
3. Making lifestyle changes
Taking some of the pressure off the affected facet joints can help manage the pain. This can be accomplished by making an effort to improve spinal posture throughout the day. In particular, maintaining a neutral posture while sitting can be helpful, whether it’s at home or work or while driving. Losing excess weight can also reduce the stress placed on the spine, so it’s typically recommended for patients to watch their caloric intake and perform regular, low-impact exercise.
There are many other conservative methods for managing facet syndrome pain. But sometimes, even after months of trying these approaches, patients don’t find sufficient relief from their symptoms. At that point, facet joint surgery may become an option. Depending on the direct cause of the pain, several types of surgery may be possible, including the minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery performed at USA Spine Care. By using a less than 1-inch incision, our board-certified surgeons can treat conditions like facet syndrome with less risk of complication compared to traditional open back surgery.
If you’d like to learn more about the advantages of our procedures and to find out whether you’re a potential candidate, contact us today for a no-cost MRI review.*