Back Stories

Chronic back or neck pain, or facet hypertrophy?

woman reaching for lower back neck

If you wake up with a stiff neck, you could have slept wrong. Feel pain shooting down your back when you get off the couch after sitting for a while? Maybe you just need to stretch. Then again, in both of these instances, you could have facet hypertrophy.

What is facet hypertrophy?

Facet joints are located all along the spine, between each vertebra. They’re the reason you can bend and turn, and they also provide support in addition to that flexibility.

Healthy facet joints glide “easily and smoothly, and perhaps most importantly, pain-free,” said Very Well Health. During facet hypertrophy, the joints become enlarged. Other types of facet joint issues can cause degeneration or bone spurs, all of which can cause extreme pain. “While not all instances of wear and tear related degeneration will produce pain or other symptoms, degeneration does develop, at least to some extent, in anyone who gets old enough,” they said.

Symptoms

Some other telltale signs of facet hypertrophy include trouble turning your head, which is indicative of cervical facet hypertrophy or turning your entire body to one side, which likely means your condition is affecting the facet joints somewhere in the back. If the problem is in your lower back, you may have trouble bending or standing, especially if you’ve been stationary for a period of time.

Treating facet hypertrophy

Injections into the affected joint may bring immediate pain relief for facet hypertrophy patients. For some people, one such injection can provide long-term relief, while others may need more than one. Anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy are other conservative back treatments used for this condition. A medial branch block can also eliminate pain by injecting a small amount of anesthetic or steroid near the affected joint.

Some patients may need further treatment. Thankfully, there are minimally invasive treatments with proven results in treating facet hypertrophy. The DISC Spine Institute, experts in minimally invasive treatments, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate chronic neck pain, uses pain mapping to pinpoint the impacted facet joints. This treatment has an excellent success rate, takes just a few minutes, and is performed right in the office and with no hospitalization needed. Patients can walk out on their own right after.

If you’re ready to put an end to your pain or if you want more information about treatment options, contact The DISC Spine Institute. Today’s minimally invasive procedures include outpatient treatments and easier surgical treatments with small incisions and a quicker recovery time instead of a long hospital stay.

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