Facet disease occurs when there is degeneration of the facet joint. You may not be familiar with the word facet or degenerative facet disease, yet you may suffer from this condition. Treatment is typically recommended if your symptoms persist. The facet or spinal joints are located on the right and left sides of the spine at each level where a disc is present. Together with the disc, facets are responsible for the movement of the spine and play a role in providing support to your body. Like all joints in the body, facet joints are susceptible to degeneration, aging, wear and tear.
What Causes Facet Disease?
Facet disease is characterized by worn-down cartilage as a result of aging, injury or overuse. Another common term for facet disease is facet arthritis. Arthritic facets can contribute to spinal stenosis, pinched spinal nerves and degenerative spondylolisthesis.
Facet Disease Symptoms
Cervical facet disease, and lumbar facet disease are the most common areas affected. Symptoms can include localized pain at the level involved or the pain can radiate to other areas like the hip or leg.
For example, facets problems in the lumbar region can cause lower back pain that can radiate into the buttocks and upper thigh area. If the cervical area is affected, pain can occur in the back of the neck and radiate to the top of the shoulders, and around the neck.
Facet Disease in the Neck
Facet disease in the neck refers to the degeneration of one or more facet joints along the cervical spine. The most common location of facet disease is in the lumbar spinal region, or lower back.
Facet Disease in the Back
Lumbar facet disease occurs when there is degeneration of the facet joint in the lumbar spine. Because the lumbar spine receives the most pressure, it is the most common area for facet disease to occur.
Facet joint arthritis, sometimes referred to as spondylosis or facet arthropathy, is one of the most common causes of chronic neck and back pain. Like any other joint in the human body, facet joints are susceptible to degeneration and inflammation.
Facet Hypertrophy is a condition in which there is a swelling, or enlargement, of the facet joint. This swelling in the facet joint can increase to the point where nerves in the spine come under pressure causing pain and discomfort. If left untreated, facet hypertrophy can cause several other conditions including stenosis and radiculopathy.
The MISI Approach to treating Facet Disease
Facet Disease is a form of arthritis, caused from overall spine joint wear and tear. Our highly sensitive pain-mapping techniques can often pinpoint which facet is causing the problem. Depending on the symptoms of the facet disease and the relevant anatomy, there are additional minimally invasive surgical techniques available. If you need facet disease treatment or degenerative disc treatment, our specialists at the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute can provide relief.
Dr. Bryce Benbow has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.