What is Facet Disease?
Facet disease, also called arthritis of the facet or facet joint syndrome, is the gradual deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the facet joints of the spine. There is a facet joint on either side of each vertebra. These joints allow the vertebrae to articulate and hinge freely, allowing the entire spinal column to bend and rotate.
Facet joints are surrounded by cartilage and a sac of synovial fluid that keeps the joint lubricated. Gradually, the aging process, in addition to factors like obesity, gender, genetics, and disease, causes this cartilage to degenerate, which can lead to a variety of facet-related issues described in the following article. Read on to learn more about this debilitating condition and the treatments available to help you find lasting relief.
Facet Disease Symptoms
As facet disease causes the joint cartilage to wear away and adjacent vertebral bones to grind against each other, bone spurs may begin to develop. Bone spurs, which can develop in the joint space or along the end plates of the vertebral bodies, are extra growths of bone that can come into contact with nearby spinal nerves or the spinal cord itself. If this occurs, the following symptoms may present:
- Tingling, numbness, or weakness due to compression
- Joint stiffness or spontaneous joint lockage
- A sensation of bone rubbing against bone
- Pain originating from the joints or facets
- Reduced range of motion
- Inflammation of the joint
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms to a severe point, you must contact your doctor immediately to acquire a specialist referral.
Many patients find they can manage their facet disease symptoms nonsurgically with conservative treatments. These include yoga, acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, pain medication, chiropractic manipulation, hot/cold compresses, and intermittent rest periods. However, if your pain and discomfort do not go away after several weeks or months of these conservative treatments, you may be a candidate for surgery.
We offer minimally invasive spine surgery, a safer and more effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery. Don’t wait to find relief; contact BEST Health System today.