If you have been experiencing persistent pain in your neck or back, you might have facet syndrome. Learn more about this condition and why it is important to treat your pain.
What is facet syndrome?
The facet joints hold the vertebrae together, aid in flexibility and help to stabilize the spine. The surfaces of the facet joints are lined with cartilage, which allows the joints to easily glide over each other. Over time, the cartilage gradually wears away. Facet syndrome occurs most commonly in older individuals as a result of the aging process and normal wear and tear on the spine.
Symptoms of untreated facet syndrome
Deterioration of the cartilage in the facet joints is very common. In some cases, bone spurs can develop. Because the cartilage has worn away, the bones rub against each other causing friction, swelling, stiffness and arthritis in the facet joints. If left untreated facet syndrome can include any combination of the following symptoms:
- Pain that is worse at the beginning or end of the day
- Pain that is worse with a change in weather
- Radiating back or neck pain
- The sound or sensation of bone rubbing on bone when you move
- Muscle weakness in your arms or legs
- Tingling or numbness in your arms or legs
- Pain that is worse with sitting or standing for extended periods
Symptoms can progress and worsen if not properly treated. If you think you might have symptoms caused by facet syndrome, schedule an appointment with your physician for a review of your symptoms, medical history, physical examination and diagnostic testing as needed.
Facet syndrome treatment
Conservative treatment is geared toward relieving pain and reducing inflammation. Facet syndrome treatmentincludes physical therapy, over-the-counter pain medication, heat and ice therapy, massage, rest and facet joint blocks. If left untreated, facet syndrome can progress into more serious conditions that are irreversible like osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease.
If conservative treatment is unsuccessful, contact USA Spine Care to find out if one of our minimally invasive spine surgeries could help to treat your painful condition. Minimally invasive surgeries, such as those performed at USA Spine Care, are safer and effective alternatives to traditional open back surgeries.^ Our surgeries require only a small incision, often less than 1 inch, and can be performed on an outpatient basis.
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