Facet disease can cause grinding, locking, and aching or throbbing pain throughout the facet joints of your spine. At Tarpon Interventional Pain & Spine Care, with offices in West Plano and North Plano, Texas, the spine care experts offer conservative and minimally invasive treatments to relieve pain associated with facet disease. Whether your pain was caused by wear and tear, trauma, or another spinal condition, you can get relief from the experts by scheduling an appointment online or by phone today.
Facet Disease Q & A
What is facet disease?
Facet disease, also called facet joint disease or facet syndrome, is a chronic condition that causes degeneration and inflammation of the facet joints of the spine. The facet joints are located on both sides of each vertebra and connect them to the vertebrae above and below it. These joints are responsible for flexion and extension of the spine. When they become inflamed or diseased, the joints break down and move less, leading to spinal stiffness and pain.
What are the symptoms of facet disease?
Since facet joints are small in size, facet disease symptoms are usually isolated to the specific joint that is involved such that you may be able to point directly to the source of your pain.
Other symptoms of facet disease include:
- Constant or intermittent aching or throbbing
- Tenderness over the area where the affected joint is located
- Abnormal spinal curvature
- Grinding sensation in the spine when moving
- Locking of the joints
- Pain when you lift objects, bend, or twist
- Decreased range of motion
Symptoms tend to be mild to moderate, but can cause chronic pain and dysfunction in your spine. Facet disease may also predispose you to develop muscle spasms.
What causes facet disease?
The most common cause of facet disease is wear and tear over time, called osteoarthritis. As the cartilage between the facets wears down, it can lead to locking of the joint and, if left untreated, may lead to bone-on-bone grinding and chronic arthritic pain.
Other causes of facet disease include:
- Traumatic injuries, including car accidents and falls
- Being overweight or obese
- Smoking or using tobacco products
- Sedentary lifestyle
In the early stages, facet disease can benefit from increased exercise and physical therapy. If this is the case for you, the team works with local physical therapists and provides appropriate referrals as needed.
How is facet disease diagnosed?
Diagnosis of facet disease involves a consultation, physical exam, and imaging — usually X-rays — to look for arthritic changes in the facet joints. Facet injections may also be used to determine if a facet joint, or another anatomical structure, is the source of your pain.
How is facet disease treated?
Based on your diagnosis and the severity of your symptoms, the team at Tarpon Interventional Pain & Spine Care may recommend one or more of the following approaches:
- Physical therapy
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Steroid injections or facet injections
- Nerve root blocks
- Spinal cord stimulator (SCS)
With facet disease, surgery isn’t necessary in most cases.
Call Tarpon Interventional Pain & Spine Care or use online booking to schedule an exam for your back pain today.