Facet joint syndrome, also known as osteoarthritis of the facet joints, is a condition that causes pain, tingling, and numbness in the spine. Facet joints help the spine bend, twist, and move in various directions, so when a patient develops facet joint syndrome, he or she may have trouble moving the body in a fluid, comfortable manner. To diagnose this condition, patients must undergo a thorough physical examination and diagnostic testing in order to rule out other conditions, diseases, and injuries. After administering an imaging test, Dr. Mark Giovanini of NeuroMicroSpine will be able to determine the severity of the patient’s facet joint syndrome and whether or not minimally invasive spinal surgery will help alleviate pain caused by the condition.
Facet joint syndrome may be caused by a number of things, such as old age, excess weight on the facet joints, injury, and wear and tear from physically-demanding occupations. As we mentioned previously, facet joint syndrome is another term for osteoarthritis of the spine, and so a degenerative disease such as osteoarthritis may also be considered a cause of facet joint syndrome. If this condition is left untreated, patients may develop bone spurs from the deterioration of cartilage and fluid. Bone spurs can take of much-needed space in the foramen, causing them to pinch surrounding nerve roots. As such, patients may experience pain in the spine, muscle weakness, numbness, and difficulty bending and twisting the spine. Depending on the location and severity of facet joint syndrome, patients may experience radiating pain in the upper or lower extremities.
Treatment for facet joint syndrome may include a combination of techniques, including conservative therapies and interventional procedures. Although effective, these treatments often fail to address the underlying issue: damage that cannot be treated using over-the-counter medications and topical solutions. Therefore, minimally invasive spine surgery is typically the best option for patients with extensive facet joint damage. To remedy damaged, painful facet joints that have been afflicted by facet joint syndrome, also known as osteoarthritis of the spine, Dr. Mark Giovanini of NeuroMicroSpine will usually recommend a joint fusion surgery to help reduce the patient’s pain. This procedure may be performed in conjunction with a bone graft replacement to ensure stability and restore vertebral height. If you’re interested in learning more about this procedure, call NeuroMicroSpine today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mark Giovanini.