The treatment for degenerative facet arthropathy depends on the severity, but initially a doctor may prescribe rest and over-the-counter medications, according to About.com. Other treatments include steroid injections and surgery, if necessary though surgery is rare.
Doctors usually start treating facet arthropathy with rest to stop the symptoms, and they may suggest certain sleep positions to take pressure off of the joints, explains About.com. Some of these include curling up or laying on the back with a pillow under the knees. Over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs also work well for facet arthropathy, as are prescription corticosteroids and muscle relaxants. Doctors may also suggest exercise, traction, water therapy and spinal manipulation.
Aggressive treatments for facet arthropathy may work when conservative treatments are not working, states About.com. One aggressive treatment for arthropathy is injections of steroids or anesthetic direction into the nerves or joints. Another treatment is sinu-vertebral nerve ablation, which can destroy the nerves with an electrical current.
If nothing else works, surgery may work to treat facet arthropathy, but it is a rare option, states About.com. Facet rhizotomy is one surgical option, and the doctor severs the nerves leading to the facet joint. Surgical fusion may also work, as it fuses two or more of the vertebrae to stop the joints from moving.