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Can facet syndrome occur in the lower back?

Facet syndrome in your lower back can cause pain and other symptoms that can potentially affect not only your lumbar spine, but also your buttocks, legs and feet. A type of age-related spinal osteoarthritis, facet syndrome causes the layer of cartilage on the facet joints to break down and wear away over time, leaving the bone surfaces bare and unprotected. Cartilage deterioration may spur the development of bone spurs near the inflamed joints, which can crowd sensitive spinal nerves and lead to painful nerve compression.

While facet syndrome can develop anywhere in the spine, the lower back is particularly susceptible to arthritic changes. That’s because the lumbar spine supports the majority of the body’s weight through a wide range of motion, and thus is constantly subjected to a significant amount of stress, which can accelerate the degenerative effects of aging.

Facet syndrome symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms of facet syndrome in the lower back are:

  • Aching and stiffness in the lower back
  • Pain that travels from the spine through the buttocks and down the backs of the thighs
  • Limited mobility and range of motion

Facet syndrome treatment

In many cases, the symptoms of facet syndrome in the lower back respond well to a combination of conservative treatments used over the course of several weeks or months. Some potentially effective options include pain medications, physical therapy, stretches, low-impact exercises, corticosteroid injections and lifestyle modifications. To address very severe or persistent discomfort at its source, surgery may be considered.

At USA Spine Care, our surgeons perform minimally invasive outpatient procedures to address facet syndrome in the lower back. 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 to request a no-cost 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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