Facet disease is usually caused by the natural aging process, which no one can avoid. Facet joints connect the vertebrae in the spine, allowing for movement and stability. This occurs when there is degeneration of the cartilage in these joints. Much like in any other joint, when the cartilage in a facet joint degenerates, it causes inflammation of the joints, resulting in pain, stiffness, and other debilitating symptoms.
Although it is largely unavoidable, many facet disease risk factors can accelerate the natural aging process. Knowing more about these causes can help slow down joint degeneration, whether you have been diagnosed with facet disease or are at risk for developing this condition.
Facet Disease Risk Factors
Besides everyday wear and tear and age-related deterioration, here are some of the specific risk factors that can contribute to the onset of facet disease:
- Improper lifting
- Awkward rest or sleeping positions
- Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
- A weakened immune system
- Traumatic bone fractures caused by an automobile or workplace accident
- Poor posture
- Repetitive motion injuries from standing and lifting or bending and twisting
While taking steps to avoid these behaviors or making lifestyle adjustments to reverse them can slow the development of facet disease, it is important to seek the partnership of your primary care doctor for diagnosis and treatment if symptoms become persistent.
Upon diagnosis, doctors recommend starting treatment with conservative treatment options. While there is no way to cure facet disease, many patients do have great success managing symptoms with some of the following methods:
- Braces and supportive pillows
- Chiropractic treatments
- Hot and cold compression therapy
- Physical therapy
- Periods of rest
- Pain medication
Surgery to treat facet disease is usually considered when conservative options have been exhausted. This is because traditional open back surgery involves large incisions, overnight hospitalization, and a long, often painful, rehabilitation period.
There is an alternative if you are considering traditional open back surgery to treat chronic symptoms related to facet disease. At BEST Health System, we offer minimally invasive treatment options for individuals seeking surgery for chronic pain. Are you ready to find relief? Contact BEST Health System today.