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Common causes of lumbar facet disease

Facet disease, or facet syndrome, is a degenerative spinal condition that can develop when the facet joints in the spine wear down after years of heavy use and pressure. Healthy facet joints have a protective lining of cartilage and lubricating fluid, allowing the joints to glide smoothly. If this cartilage wears away and the bones of the joint are forced to grind against one another, pain, inflammation and joint stiffness can develop. Another possible result could be the growth of a bone spur, which can lead to additional symptoms — including radiating pain, tingling and numbness — if the bone spur puts pressure on a nearby nerve root or the spinal cord.

Facet disease in the lower back

Lumbar facet disease is the most common form of this condition, due to the amount of bending and twisting the lower back endures as well as the added pressure this area of the spine is subjected to as it supports much of the body’s weight. There are several additional factors that can speed the development of facet disease in the lower back, including:

  1. Obesity
  2. Aging
  3. Poor posture
  4. Frequent bending or lifting
  5. Genetics
  6. Participation in high-impact sports
  7. Traumatic bone fractures
  8. Heavy tobacco use

Facet disease treatment options

While lumbar facet disease symptoms can be severe and interfere with your ability to lead a normal, active lifestyle, you will be happy to learn that there are a variety of treatment options that may provide the relief you are looking for. Your physician may suggest that you combine lifestyle modifications (losing excess weight, using better posture) with conservative treatments, such as pain and anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and alternating hot and cold packs. You may also want to consider alternative treatments, including chiropractic care, massage therapy, Pilates and acupuncture.

If several months of conservative and alternative treatment do not reduce your symptoms and you continue to experience discomfort, you may want to explore your surgical options at USA Spine Care. We offer minimally invasive surgery that utilizes a less than 1-inch incision and muscle-sparing techniques, and we would be happy to provide a free MRI review* to help determine if you are a candidate for our lumbar facet disease treatment options. Contact us today to learn more about our outpatient surgeries.

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