Facet joints are located behind and between the vertebrae in the human spine. These joints facilitate movement in the spine and throughout the body. Over time these joints wear out and can slip forward or backward, causing pain.
What is Facet Disease?
Facet disease describes a wide variety of conditions affecting these joints. It can come in several forms:
- Facet Capsule/ ligament injury (WHIPLASH Syndrome)
- Facet Arthritis
- Facet Joint Syndrome
In the most mild cases, facet disease will not cause any pain at all. But it can result in severe pain in other cases.
Causes and Symptoms
Facet joints can degenerate due to wear and tear as the body ages, or from conditions like arthritis. Facet disease can also result from an injury to the spine.
Symptoms of facet disease can include all of the following:
- Tenderness or swelling near the affected joint
- Pain in the back, neck, or legs
To successfully diagnose facet disease, your physician will examine your symptoms with a routine physical, and confirm the diagnosis using diagnostic imaging, such as an MRI or CT scan.
Treatment for Facet Disease
Non-surgical treatment options for facet disease are aimed at relieving pain. Common treatments include:
- Physical therapy exercises
- Pain medication
- Back bracing
- Practicing good posture
- Avoiding high impact activities and replacing them with lower impact activities (like swimming).
- Facet joint injections
- Radiofrequency Neurolysis (Radiofrequency Ablation)
Twin Cities Spine Surgeon
Unfortunately, sometimes these conservative treatments do not successfully relieve the pain cause by facet disease. In those instances, surgery can be considered. Dr. Sinicropi has extensive experience treating facet disease using minimally invasive surgery techniques. These operations are simple, quick, and successfully get you back to a fully functioning lifestyle in no time. Contact Dr. Sinicropi today to see if you are a candidate for minimally invasive surgery or to set up your own spine surgery appointment – 800.234.1826.