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Facet Joint Syndrome

Facet joints are the name for the small joints on either side of each vertebra in your spine. Together, these joints let your back move in many directions and help keep your spine stable and supported. With facet joint syndrome, however, the cartilage in the facet joints begins to degenerate. A form of arthritis, facet joint syndrome causes pain in the affected region of the back as the joints are hindered by increased friction and reduced ease of motion.

Facet joint syndrome is normally diagnosed with a combination of a complete medical history and imaging equipment. An MRI can generally show your doctor the precise location of the problem and the degree of degeneration in the facet joint. As facet joint syndrome is often accompanied by other forms of spinal distress (such as degenerating discs or spinal canal narrowing) your doctor might look for signs of these conditions as well.

Getting Treatment for Facet Joint Syndrome
As with most forms of arthritis, the first line of defense against symptoms of facet joint syndrome is often physical therapy combined with medication. However, severe cases of facet joint syndrome, or cases that are connected with other spine conditions, may necessitate surgery.

Thankfully, new technologies have eliminated many of the complications normally associated with open back surgery. Using a tiny camera called an endoscope, arthroscopic surgery allows doctors to treat chronic back conditions with precise lasers and specially adapted surgical tools. Benefits include reduced recovery time, minimized tissue damage, an outpatient setting, and less pain. For details, please visit the Bonati Institute for Advanced Arthroscopic Surgery: www.bonati.com.

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