Facet Syndrome Risks
The primary facet syndrome risk factor is something outside of our control: the natural aging process. Age-related changes are the most common cause of facet syndrome.
Over time natural loss of water content combined with the wear and tear caused by years of bending, flexing, and twisting causes the protective layer of cartilage within the facet joints of the spine to deteriorate. As the layer of cartilage wears down, the vertebrae begin to rub against each other, causing bone-on-bone friction, which can lead to inflammation of the joints and the development of bone spurs.
Overall, understanding facet syndrome risk factors can help you make certain lifestyle choices to improve your overall spine health in the hopes of avoiding this condition.
What is Facet Syndrome?
Facet syndrome is a form of osteoarthritis that affects the facet joints of the spine.
Facet joints are the hinges that connect the vertebrae of the spine. These joints allow the vertebrae to pivot and move, which enables the spine to bend and flex. In addition, the facet joints are protected by a thin layer of cartilage and are lubricated by fluid that causes the joints to move smoothly against each other.
Furthermore, the aging process is the main facet syndrome risk because over time the cartilage and lubricating fluid begin to dry out, making it brittle. Moreover, this natural breakdown of the cartilage on the facet joints and the resulting friction of the vertebrae can lead to this condition.
Facet Syndrome Prevention and Treatment
While aging cannot be prevented, certain lifestyle choices can contribute to facet syndrome prevention. These lifestyle choices that promote overall spine health include:
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Eating a nutritious diet
- Avoiding tobacco
- Exercising regularly
- Moderating alcohol consumption
- Practicing good posture
These lifestyle choices do not guarantee complete avoidance of this condition. However, maximizing nutrients and blood flow to the spine while reducing the pressure being placed on it can potentially slow down the forces that lead to it.
However, if you do develop this condition, your doctor can help you find pain relief by helping you develop a conservative facet syndrome treatment plan that includes:
- Physical therapy
- Hot/cold compresses
- Massage therapy
- Stretching and yoga
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
However, surgery can become an option if there is compression and symptoms have not responded to conservative facet syndrome treatments. At BEST Health System, we provide a safer and more effective alternative to traditional open back surgery. Moreover, this procedure offers our patients a shorter recovery time and a lower risk of complications.
To treat facet disease, facet thermal ablation is a common procedure that uses a laser to deaden sensory nerves. Typically, this procedure is performed in conjunction with a minimally invasive decompression procedure. This involves removing the spinal anatomy that is putting pressure on a spinal nerve root.
BEST Health System
BEST Health System specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery that is an effective alternative to traditional open back procedures. This offers many benefits, including less risk of infection and no lengthy recovery. For more information on how BEST can help you find relief from chronic neck and back pain, contact us today.