One of the more common degenerative spinal conditions in individuals over the age of 50, facet disease, can lead to joint pain, back stiffness and additional symptoms that can travel along a nerve pathway to other areas of the body. This condition is most common in the lumbar spine (lower back) because of the weight this area supports and the frequent movements the facet joints in the lumbar spine are subjected to. Facet disease develops when the smooth cartilage in a facet joint deteriorates after years of wear and tear, causing the bones in the joint to grind against one another. This can cause the formation of a bone spur in the joint, and radiating pain, muscle weakness, numbness and tingling can develop if the bone spur comes into contact with a nerve root or the spinal cord.
Making travel more tolerable
If you are suffering from painful symptoms related to facet disease in the lower back, traveling can be a particularly stressful experience. Here are a few tips that could help make your travel experience more enjoyable:
- Pack light. It’s best to avoid having to lift or carry heavy bags.
- Lift your bags carefully. Use your legs while lifting your bag, and never twist your back.
- Use a backpack. A light backpack can help reduce the stress on your spine.
- Support you lower back. A small pillow can help support the natural curve in your lower back.
- Use pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications. Don’t try to tough it out; take your medications to help you get through the day.
- Stretch. Try not to sit for too long without stretching the muscles supporting the spine.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking water can help circulate nutrients and oxygen throughout your body.
- Ice when you arrive. Ice packs can help reduce inflammation between travel legs or when you reach your destination.
Treating facet disease through surgery
If you’ve been following a conservative treatment plan and your facet disease symptoms haven’t subsided after several weeks or months, it may be time to explore your surgical options. While open spine surgery is an option for facet disease in the lower back, you may be a candidate for minimally invasive back surgery at USA Spine Care, which boasts a patient recommendation score of 98 out of 100.^ We will provide a free MRI review* to help determine if one of our outpatient procedures could provide the relief you are looking for.
Contact USA Spine Care today to learn more about minimally invasive spine surgery.
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