Spondylosis is a common finding on spinal MRI where the patient has neck or back pain. It is commonly used to describe osteoarthritis of the spine, but it’s an umbrella term that describes the degeneration of the joints between the vertibrae (facet joint arthritis), the growth of bone spurs (osteophytes) causing Spinal Stenosis and the degeneration of the vertebral discs (Degenerative Disc Disease).
Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD) isn’t really a disease at all. It describes the normal changes in the discs in your spine as you age. But in common usage, DDD is used to describe the pain and radiating weakness and numbness caused by dried out or herniated or bulging discs in the spine.
Treatment of Facet Joint Arthritis is aimed at reducing the potentially severe pain associated with osteoarthritis of the facet joints. Left untreated, the pain can lead to recurring and/or constant neck and back pain that can limit the ability to work, exercise and even socialise.
Treatment starts conservatively, with non-surgical options.
The facet joints connect the vertebra to one another. They are located at the back of the spine, and there are two facet joints between each pair of vertebrae, one one each side of the spine. The joints combine with the disc space, to create a three joint complex between every pair of vertebra. The facet joint has two bony surfaces with cartilage in between, and a surrounding joint capsule that contains synovial fluid. The cartilage and synovial fluid allow the joints of the spine to move with minimal friction.