Arthritis affects nearly 25% of adults in the United States, resulting in more work disability claims than any other condition. Out of all the different forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs most often, resulting from wear and tear to the joints through the years. Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness occur as the cartilage breaks down and ends up impacting both ranges of motion and mobility.
Although it occurs most often in the hands, knees, and hips, osteoarthritis can affect the facet joints as well. When that happens, facet joint arthritis treatment can help you get relief from the back pain, stiffness, and overall discomfort you feel day after day.
Facet joint arthritis is the development of osteoarthritis at the facet joints in your spine. Along the posterior of your spine, you have these joints along both sides of all your vertebra. The facet joints help keep the spine flexible while providing stability as you move. Through the years, the joints experience wear and tear that causes the cartilage to thin out and eventually disappear altogether.
Without the cartilage providing a much-needed cushion in your joints, back pain commonly occurs. Where you feel the back pain depends on which of these joints have worn out the most. The pain may also radiate up and down the spine, into your neck and head, or along any or all of your limbs. You may notice that both inactivity and certain movements increase the pain significantly.
Since the pain results from inflammation within the facet joints, poor range of motion and mobility limitations commonly occur as well. You may also feel quite stiff after sleeping and have a hard time getting moving in the morning.
Age is the number one risk factor for facet joint arthritis. All your activities through the years take quite a toll on all the joints in your body, including your facet joints. As time goes on, the cartilage naturally wears out, leaving the bones in your joints directly rubbing together. When that happens, facet joint arthritis symptoms arise, leaving you dealing with pain, stiffness, and swelling.
Other risk factors of facet joint arthritis include:
Underlying medical conditions, like degenerative disc disease, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia, all increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis as well. If you were born with Ehlers-Danlos or other bone diseases, you have a higher risk of ending up with facet joint arthritis, especially in your senior years.
Oftentimes, multiple risk factors add up, effectively working together to wreak havoc on the cartilage in your joints. So, it’s not always possible to make enough lifestyle changes to dramatically decrease your risk of facet joint arthritis.
But it’s worth trying. By reaching a normal weight, managing your underlying health conditions, and practicing good lifting techniques, for example, it’s possible to mitigate the risks at least a little bit. Once facet joint arthritis symptoms arise, however, the only treatment for facet joint arthritis can help reduce your pain and discomfort.
When it comes to treatment for arthritis facet joints, surgery is an option, but taking a more conservative approach from the start often yields better results.
Conservative facet joint arthritis treatment may initially include:
When conservative treatments do not provide enough relief, you can potentially benefit from regenerative medicine techniques, like:
Mesenchymal stem cell therapy involves a targeted injection of stem cells into the affected facet joints. The stem cells then naturally fill in the gaps in your joints by dividing into natural cartilage tissues, helping you get on the road to recovery.
Connective tissue matrix injections fill the empty spaces in your joints with a precise combination of collagens, mucins, elastic fibers, and other beneficial substances found in connective tissues. Upon getting injected into the facet joints, the wide variety of cells in these fibers get to work in repairing the joint damage.
If you're looking for facet joint arthritis treatment in The Woodlands or Houston, our clinic can help. Our approach centers around using regenerative medicine to effectively promote healing while minimizing the risk of developing scar tissue.
Are you dealing with back pain on a daily basis? If so, it's time to get help from our team at Houston Spine and Regenerative Medicine. We are the leading provider of regenerative facet joint arthritis treatment in Houston and The Woodlands. At both of our clinics, our doctors are well-versed in all the top regenerative medicine practices, including mesenchymal stem cell therapy. To get started, simply fill out our online form or give us a call at (281) 362-0006 (The Woodlands) or (713) 652-4052 (Houston) to schedule your consultation appointment.