Facet disease is a common condition in which the facet joints — the joints that allow the spine to maintain a full range of motion — gradually break down over time. This condition has a wide range of potential causes, including some that are a normal part of life, such as natural degeneration of the cartilage that cushions the joints. However, there are several other facet disease causes that are directly related to lifestyle — including the three listed below.
Smoking and facet disease
Smoking contributes to spinal degeneration in a number of ways. In regard to osteoarthritis, some studies suggest that smoking can accelerate the deterioration of cartilage. Smoking can also prevent the body from healing existing damage. If cigars, cigarettes or chewing tobacco are part of your daily routine, talk with your physician about finding ways to quit.
Repetitive motion and facet disease
Routinely repeating the same bending or twisting motions — either as part of a job requirement or hobby — is one of the other primary causes of facet disease. Golfing, for instance, can place added stress on the facet joints, making them wear down more quickly than they otherwise would. If your job involves a significant amount of manual labor, you may want to see if you can share responsibilities with another employee. Or, if a hobby is putting your body in a potentially detrimental situation, consider finding a lower-impact alternative.
Sedentary lifestyle and facet disease
Moderate activity is essential to optimal health. People who have a sedentary lifestyle have a higher rate of degenerative spine conditions, such as facet disease. People who don’t exercise regularly also tend to have a higher body weight, making them more prone to accelerated spinal degeneration. If you’re overweight or obese, consider setting some realistic short-term weight-loss goals with your physician. If you’re already at a healthy weight but don’t do much in the way of exercise, consider adding two or three sessions of something simple and enjoyable — like walking or yoga — to your weekly routine.
Of course, it’s important to remember that many factors contribute to the development of facet disease and some causes simply can’t be avoided. If you’ve been diagnosed with facet disease, you can talk with your physician about lifestyle modifications to help you manage your pain, and also explore clinical treatments such as medication and physical therapy. Or, if your symptoms are getting in the way of your daily life, you might want to find out if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive surgery at USA Spine Care. Our procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, and most of our patients are up and walking on the same day as their operation.^ For more information or to request a free MRI review,* contact us today.
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