Radiofrequency denervation is a commonly used treatment for chronic low back pain, but high-quality evidence for its effectiveness is lacking.
All participants received a 3-month standardized exercise program and psychological support if needed. Participants in the intervention group received radiofrequency denervation as well. This is usually a 1-time procedure, but the maximum number of treatments in the trial was 3.
In 3 randomized clinical trials of (681) participants with chronic low back pain originating in the facet joints, sacroiliac joints, or a combination of facet joints, sacroiliac joints, or intervertebral disks, radiofrequency denervation combined with a standardized exercise program resulted in either no improvement or no clinically important improvement in chronic low back pain compared with a standardized exercise program alone. The findings do not support the use of radiofrequency denervation to treat chronic low back pain from these sources.
Juch JNS, Maas ET, Ostelo RWJG, et al. Effect of Radiofrequency Denervation on Pain Intensity Among Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain: The Mint Randomized Clinical Trials [published correction appears in JAMA. 2017 Sep 26;318(12 ):1188]. JAMA. 2017;318(1):68-81. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.7918