Lumbar facet syndrome refers to the group of symptoms that occur due to age-related breakdown of the facet joints in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine. Because the lower back carries so much weight and enables basic upper body movement, the facet joints in this spinal segment are particularly prone to developing this condition.
Symptoms of lumbar facet syndrome can be mild to severe, and are caused by both local joint inflammation and compression of spinal material by swollen joints and bone spurs. By better understanding the symptoms caused by this condition, you can be a more engaged and educated patient if this condition is affecting your life.
Specific lumbar facet syndrome symptoms
Commonly reported symptoms include:
- Local aches and pain — caused by the grinding of the exposed joints and irritation of local nerve endings
- Joint stiffness — caused by hardened ligaments and the wearing down of cartilage
- Crepitus — a popping or grinding sensation caused by the facet joints
- Shooting pains — caused by compression of the spinal cord or nerve root by a bone spur facet joint
- Muscle weakness — another neuropathic symptom caused by nerve compression
- Tingling and numbness — can occur all the way down to the toes for lumbar facet syndrome
In addition to localized symptoms in the lower back, lumbar facet syndrome can cause symptoms in the hips, buttocks, legs and feet.
Treating facet syndrome
Upon diagnosis, treatment for lumbar facet syndrome typically begins conservatively with options like rest, medication, physical therapy, facet injections and lifestyle changes like posture improvement. You may be recommended to consult with a surgeon if nonsurgical options have been exhausted without improving symptoms enough for a good quality of life.
Before consenting to spine surgery, or to learn more about the full range of facet syndrome treatment options, reach out to USA Spine Care today. We’ve helped thousands of patients at our regional outpatient facilities across the United States with minimally invasive spine surgery.
We’re pleased to provide a free MRI review* to help determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.
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