Does Facet Disease Require Treatment?

What is Facet Disease?

Facets are the spinal joints where the vertebrae hinge and move. They’re located in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions. These joints can undergo degeneration or arthritis known as facet disease, which can manifest itself in a variety of ways including pain in the neck or back, joint stiffness or soreness, numbness, and tingling. Pain can also be associated with activities such as bending, lifting, twisting, and sitting for prolonged periods of time. If you are wondering if the condition can eventually resolve itself without any form of treatment, read the following article.

Facet Disease Treatment Options

Facet disease develops gradually as the soft tissue around the facet joints wears down over time. Once this soft tissue is gone, there is no way to bring it back. This means that there is no true cure for facet disease. However, there are many options out there that can help reduce or completely eliminate facet disease symptoms. These conservative treatment methods include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Using cortisone injections
  • Narcotic and non-narcotic pain medications
  • Resting the back for limited periods
  • Low-impact exercises like walking or swimming
  • Physical therapy to help strengthen the muscles around the spine
  • Stretching exercises such as yoga or Pilates
  • Managing excess weight, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption
  • Correcting poor posture
  • Using hot and cold compresses

Some individuals with facet disease also find that alternative therapies like acupressure, acupuncture, herbal supplements, and other holistic approaches can help manage symptoms. In many cases, individuals using one or more of these conservative options will find effective symptom relief without needing to consider a more invasive treatment approach. Please keep your doctor informed of any new treatment options you are attempting in order to avoid worsening your symptoms.

Minimally Invasive Treatments for Face Disease

While many individuals will not need surgery as a facet disease treatment, there are some cases in which symptoms require further treatment. If this is the case, your doctor may recommend seeing if you are a candidate for surgical intervention. Traditional surgery is no longer the only choice for patients with facet disease. Thanks to modern technology, surgeons can now perform operations on a minimally invasive, outpatient basis. At BEST Health System, our surgeons use a less than 1-inch incision to access the target location. Since these procedures are less invasive, the recovery time is significantly shorter as well. 

Surgery is a big decision, and the team at BEST understands that. For this reason, our team dedicates themselves to patient education and experience, ensuring that all patients leave with the BEST experience. If you have been diagnosed with facet disease or another spine condition, contact us today.