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Is facet syndrome causing you back pain? If so, let the orthopedic experts at Laser Spine Institute Tampa explain your treatment options

While a facet syndrome diagnosis may be concerning, there are treatment options available that can help you find the relief you are looking for from this fairly common condition.

What is facet syndrome?

Also known as spinal osteoarthritis, facet syndrome affects the facet joints in the spine, which lie between the vertebrae and allow us to bend and twist our neck and back. It can develop when the smooth cartilage in the facet joints deteriorates after many years of reducing friction between the vertebrae. When the cartilage has worn away it can allow for bones to rub against each other, and the result can be painful.

The facet syndrome diagnostic process

If you are experiencing neck or back pain, be sure to see a physician as soon as possible so you can receive a diagnosis. Your physician will likely check for a variety of degenerative spinal conditions, including facet syndrome, by discussing your medical history and performing a physical exam. If facet syndrome is suspected, an X-ray or MRI is usually needed to confirm the diagnosis.

What causes facet syndrome to develop?

While traumatic injuries, high-impact sports and jobs that require repetitive movements can sometimes lead to the development of facet syndrome, it is most often the unavoidable result of the natural aging process and the many years of strain the spine experiences. People who are overweight, use tobacco products and consume alcohol excessively may be increasing their chances of developing this condition.

How to recognize the symptoms of facet syndrome

Pain, stiffness and inflammation are usually the first symptoms that appear when facet syndrome develops. However, if the bones of the facet joint continue to rub against one another, the development of bone spurs is possible. If a bone spur forms and presses on the spinal cord or a spinal nerve root, additional symptoms including numbness, tingling, radiating pain and muscle weakness can occur.

Treatment options your physician may suggest

Rest, anti-inflammatory and pain medications, physical therapy, facet joint injections and hot/cold therapy are some of the conservative options that your physician may suggest for the treatment of facet syndrome. Some patients also choose to try alternative treatments such as yoga, acupuncture, massage therapy and chiropractic care.

Surgical treatment of facet syndrome

In many cases, conservative and alternative facet syndrome treatments produce the desired results and allow the patient to return to a normal, active lifestyle. However, if you have tried several weeks or months of these treatments without finding an adequate solution for your pain, minimally invasive surgery at the Laser Spine Institute in Tampa, FL, may be an option to consider.

Contact us today to find out if you are a candidate for our outpatient surgery by asking one of our dedicated Patient Empowerment Consultants for a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan.*