Radiofrequency denervation for chronic and moderate to severe low back pain

Funder: NIHR HTA

Funder reference: NIHR127457

Sponsor: North Bristol NHS Trust

Status: Recruiting

Long-term low back pain affects around 10-15% of adults. It can significantly impair the health, mood, and daily lives of people who have it. Radiofrequency “denervation” is widely used in the NHS for patients with a specific type of low back pain, caused by the small joints between the bones in the lower back. Denervation involves placing a needle in the nerve to the painful joint, which is heated up to cause a break in the nerve. The purpose of this is to stop the nerve sending pain messages to the brain. However, we do not know if this procedure definitely reduces pain or is a good way to spend NHS money.

The RADICAL study will recruit 250 patients in 20 pain management centres and spinal clinics across the UK. Patients who consent to participate will be randomised to either receive the denervation or a placebo treatment. All patients will be followed up for low back pain, functional disability, general health, and mental well-being outcomes over the next 2 years. Data used to assess the cost-effectiveness of denervation will also be collected.

This project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme (project reference NIHR127457). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

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NIHR Award Information

Contact Information

Chief Investigator: Dr Vikki Wylde

Study Coordinator: Kate Ashton

E-mail: radical-study@bristol.ac.uk