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Is facet disease a genetic condition?

Some people are genetically predisposed to developing facet disease, a spinal condition that affects the small joints that connect the vertebrae. These hardworking joints are lined with protective cartilage, which allows the vertebral bones to glide smoothly against each other through a wide range of motion. Over time, daily wear and tear can cause the cartilage to gradually break down and wear away, leaving the bone surfaces exposed. The painful inflammation that results is a hallmark of facet syndrome, which is also known as spinal osteoarthritis.

While genetics can play a role in the development of facet disease, there are often other factors at play as well. For instance, age-related spinal degeneration is by far the most common cause of most degenerative spine conditions, including facet syndrome.

Causes of facet disease

In addition to genetics and the natural aging process, facet disease has a number of other potential causes, including:

  • Poor posture
  • Improper lifting
  • Repetitive motion
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Excess body weight
  • A weakened immune system
  • Traumatic vertebral fractures
  • Spondylolisthesis

How to prevent facet disease

Everyone — including individuals who have a family history of spinal osteoarthritis — can benefit from taking some simple steps to protect their spinal health. Positive lifestyle practices such as exercising regularly, consuming a nutritious diet, practicing good posture and using proper lifting techniques can help keep spinal degeneration at bay and also promote overall wellness.

While facet disease symptoms can often be managed with nonsurgical treatments, some patients ultimately elect to proceed with surgery. At USA Spine Care, our surgeons perform minimally invasive outpatient surgery to address spinal osteoarthritis and other degenerative spine conditions. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is often clinically appropriate and provides many advantages versus open neck or back surgery.^ If you are interested in learning more, contact us today to request a free MRI review.* Our caring team can explain your options and help you determine if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive surgery.

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