For patients with facet syndrome, medication may prove to be a helpful tool in alleviating pain. Facet syndrome, also known as facet joint disease or spinal arthritis, affects the joints of the spine. The facet joints are located between individual vertebrae and give the spine flexibility, allowing us to bend and twist in several directions. When the cartilage that lines facet joints degenerates, or wears down over time, the vertebral bones may rub together, which can lead to bone spur formation and symptoms of pain, tenderness, stiffness, and inflammation.
Types of Medications
Physicians prescribe several different types of medication as part of the initial conservative treatment facet syndrome. These non-surgical treatments are often highly effective. Medications often prescribed include:
- NSAIDs – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin work to inhibit the body’s enzymes that cause inflammation and pain. They are usually effective in treating mild to moderate pain.
- Opioids – Opioids fall under the class of narcotic drugs, and therefore are stronger and often more effective at treating moderate to severe facet syndrome pain. Types of opioid medications include oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine.
- Facet joint blocks – A facet joint block can be used as a diagnostic tool. A block is an injection of anesthetic (numbing) medication near the nerve branches that innervate the facet joint capsule. If pain dissipates immediately after an injection, it can be assumed that the correct joint has been injected. Additional treatment can then be suggested.
Laser Spine Institute
In some cases, patients may not respond to conservative treatment and surgery is prescribed. It is reasonable to determine the least invasive efficacious surgical treatment possible. Please investigate the minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute offering efficacious procedures with shorter convalescent period and lower risk when compared with traditional open spine surgery of all types. Contact us today for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan, and to receive more information.