What Causes Lumbar Facet Disease?
The lumbar spine, or lower back, is very flexible and sustains a lot of pressure. Facet pain is a common complaint. There are several causes for lumbar facet syndrome. Any trauma to the lower back, such as car accident or injury to the spine, can cause this condition. Poor or abnormal posture can put undue pressure on the spine, which includes the facet joints, causing inflammation and pain. The most common cause however, is degenerative changes from increased loads on the facet joints due to wear and tear.
When facet joints become worn or torn, the cartilage may become thin or disappear. The bodies’ reaction to the decrease of cartilage is to produce an extra growth, or bone spur, which can cause an enlargement of the facet joint. The facet joint is then said to have arthritic changes, or osteoarthritis, that can lead to considerable pain in the lower back area. This condition is known as “facet joint disease” or “facet joint syndrome”.
Symptoms of Lumbar facet disease
- Pain after long periods of sitting
- Increased pain while bending backward
- Pain over and tenderness over affected joint
- Pain which radiates down the buttocks, hips, groin and back of thighs
The MISI Approach to Lumbar Facet Disease Treatment
There are several treatments for lumbar facet disease. Your treatment options will depend on severity and location of the affected area. At the Minimally Invasive Spine Institute, conservative treatments are explored first.
- Medication Therapy – such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication
- Physical Therapy – strengthening core exercises
- Chiropractic Therapy
- Facet joint injections – to decrease inflammation and relieve pain
XLIF (Lateral Lumbar Interbody Stabilization) – At the Minimally Invasive Surgical Institute, we use the minimally invasive XLIF procedure, or extreme lateral interbody fusion, to perform surgical procedures with minimal recovery time. The lateral approach is a minimally invasive way to accomplish an anterior spinal procedure. The surgery involves minimal tissue disruption and allows the surgeon to clean out the degenerative disc and place an interbody spacer to help restore a more natural disc height.
TLIF (Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion) – A transformational lumbar interbody fusion is a surgical procedure used to assist in stabilizing the spine. This procedure can be used to relieve pain and discomfort from the compression of nerve roots and alleviate back pain. This is accomplished by removing the degenerated disc that was causing the nerve root compression.
Minimally Invasive Spinal Fusion – This procedure requires implants or bone grafting in order to stabilize and strengthen two or more areas of the vertebral spine that are affected, thus relieving nerve impingement and easing pain. The advantages of this procedure being performed minimally invasively include; smaller incisions, less scaring, no damage to the muscle, decreased chance of infection, and shorter recovery time.
Dr. Bryce Benbow has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.