Facet syndrome, or osteoarthritis, is a type of arthritis that occurs when the facet joints — the joints in your spine that connect the vertebrae and allow for movement and flexibility — have deteriorated. These joints are lined with a cartilage that allows the bones to move against each other with ease and prevents them from grinding against each other. Over time, this lining wears down and can cause symptoms of pain and discomfort.
Facet syndrome itself is often asymptomatic or characterized by milder neck or back pain, which is very common. However, when the condition becomes severe, it can cause pain and discomfort in the affected area. Five common symptoms of facet syndrome include:
- Recurring pain at the site of the affected facet joint
- Persisting tenderness at the location of the inflamed joint
- Loss of flexibility
- Discomfort when bending backward
- Radiating pain to the buttocks and upper legs
These symptoms are sometimes worse in the morning and can improve or even fade away completely as the day progresses. Because these symptoms are similar to those of other types of neck and back pain, the only way to determine whether you have facet syndrome is to visit a physician for an accurate diagnosis.
Causes of facet syndrome
Facet syndrome can result from a combination of factors, including aging, injury, or too much pressure on the facet joints. The most common cause of this condition is the gradual wear and tear that occurs as the result of the natural aging process. In some cases, degeneration of the facet joints can be caused by direct trauma to the neck or back, often the result of falls, vehicle crashes or sports-related injuries.
Minimally invasive treatment at USA Spine Care
For patients who have been diagnosed with facet syndrome, the recommended treatments are usually conservative therapies designed to manage painful symptoms, such as physical therapy, hot and/or cold compression therapy, and over-the-counter pain medication. If these treatments do not provide sufficient relief from painful symptoms, then surgery can be recommended.
USA Spine Care performs minimally invasive spine surgery that treats facet syndrome while helping patients avoid the hospital stay and long recovery time^ of a traditional open spine surgery. To find out if you’re a candidate for a minimally invasive, outpatient surgery at USA Spine Care, contact us today.
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