Posterior facet syndrome (facet disease) is a degenerative spine condition that can explain the presence of chronic neck or back pain. This condition is most frequently associated with the regular aging process and is typically experienced later in life after years of wear and tear have degenerated the vertebral column. Initial treatment for posterior facet syndrome is attempted with a variety of noninvasive modalities designed to maintain flexibility of the facet joint and manage joint inflammation.. In some cases, spine surgery is recommended to alleviate debilitating arthritic pain.
Facet Joint Deterioration
The facet joints are integral structures in the spinal column that are responsible for stabilizing the neck and back while allowing for flexion, extension and the ability to pivot and rotate. These sliding joints contain articular surfaces covered with cartilage and surrounded by a thick capsule supplying lubricating fluid to ensure smooth comfortable motion. . Posterior facet syndrome develops when this cartilage gradually wears away and leads to bone-on-bone contact causing inflammation and the formation of bone spurs around the joint.
Facet disease is a type of osteoarthritis. Unfortunately cartilage loss cannot currently be cured or reversed. As such, treatment of posterior facet syndrome is concerned with mitigating the symptoms of the arthritic joint. In most cases, initial treatment utilizes a number of conservative, noninvasive methods that focus on keeping the spine mobile and addressing any pain the patient may be experiencing. Common treatments include:
- Pain medication or corticosteroid injections
- The application of heat or ice
- Physical therapy and low-impact exercise
- Deep tissue massage
- Yoga or Pilates
- Healthy diet and posture improvement
In many cases, these treatments prove effective and provide the patient sufficient relief; however, surgery is occasionally required when the patient continues to experience debilitating symptoms after several months of treatment. If you are considering spine surgery to treat your posterior facet syndrome, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how one of our state-of-the-art, endoscopic procedures may be able to help you.