North American Spine Society Annual Meeting
North American Spine Society Annual Meeting
August 01, 2014
1 min read

Radiofrequency therapy for sacroiliac pain delivers inconsistent results

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ORLANDO, Fla. — The use of radiofrequency therapy in several forms to treat sacroiliac joint pain is erratic and typically relieves only 50% of pain in 50% of patients at 3 months after the treatment, according to a presenter at the International Spine Intervention Society Annual Meeting, here.

Several studies have shown limited effectiveness of radiofrequency (RF) therapy in various forms for the treatment of sacroiliac complex pain, Wade King, MD, said. The research he discussed examined the effect of unipolar, bipolar, cooled and mixed RF therapies, however the data culled from these reports were “very uneven,” he said.

RF therapy seems to produce some pain relief of limited degree and limited duration in patients, but it does not pass the “dentist’s test” in terms of being effective, according to King.

Wade King


He described the “dentist’s test” as where if he had tooth pain called his dentist with tooth pain and the dentist said he could experience “50% pain relief in three months” after a treatment, he would call another dentist.

More research is needed, he said, to determine if the therapy can be effective.


King W. Lateral branch radiofrequency. Presented at: International Spine Intervention Society Annual Meeting; July 30-Aug. 3, 2014; Orlando.

Disclosure: King has no relevant financial disclosures.