How effective is radiofrequency ablation for lower back pain ?

Takeaway

  • Lumbar medial branch radiofrequency ablation is an effective and durable intervention for z-joint lower back pain.

Why this matters ?

  • Lumbar medial branch radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is increasingly used to treat lower back pain at the lumbar zygapophyseal joint (z-joint); the procedure is associated with significant pain relief and functional improvement.

  • However, when diagnosis or procedural techniques are suboptimal, outcomes are disappointing. Clear diagnostic thresholds and improved procedures will ensure that patients most likely to benefit from treatment will be identified.