Facet Syndrome – Symptoms and Your Treatment Options

Facet Syndrome

Facet syndrome, also known as facet disease or osteoarthritis of the spine, occurs when the facet joints that connect the vertebrae break down. The facet joints act as hinges to allow movement in the spine. Due to the effects of aging, combines with the continuous bending, turning, and twisting of the spine, the protective layer of cartilage can begin to wear away. When this happens, the joints rub together with no protective padding, which can result in pain and inflammation. 

Facet Syndorme Symtoms 

Facet syndrome most commonly develops in the cervical (upper) and lumbar (lower) areas of the spine, as these areas are relatively flexible and bear the most weight. Regardless of where it occurs, facet syndrome may cause several symptoms such as:

  • Localized pain in the area of the affected joint
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Inflammation

Additionally, facet syndrome can lead to the development of bone spurs, or small growths of excess bone that are formed as the body attempts to stabilize a degenerating joint. When a bone spur presses on a nearby nerve root or the spinal cord, patients may experience chronic neck or back pain along with numbness or tingling in the extremities. 

Facet Syndrome Treatment Options

Doctors almost always first recommend conservative nonsurgical treatments to relieve the symptoms of facet syndrome. This can include one or more of the following:

  • Physical therapy
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Pain medication
  • Hot/cold therapy

In addition, some patients try alternative or complementary treatments to ease their symptoms, such as:

Surgery with BEST Health System

Many patients can find relief from their pain through the use of nonsurgical treatments but they don’t work for everyone. If symptoms persist after fully attempting conservative treatment, surgery may be the best option. At BEST Health System, our surgeons perform minimally invasive spine surgery to treat facet syndrome and other degenerative spine conditions. Our surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis and are safer and more effective alternatives to traditional open spine procedures. 

If you are suffering from facet syndrome and would like to find out if you are a candidate for minimally invasive outpatient surgery at BEST, contact us today!