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Facet denervation: a route to relief from back pain

Back pain relief

Back pain can be debilitating impacting all areas of your daily life – stopping you from exercising, sleeping and doing day to day activities which, in turn, can affect your mental health.

There can be many factors including poor posture, such as slouching at a desk or standing for a long time, overstretching when you bend through to trauma, such as an accident, sports injury or fall and can continue for months or even years.

If treatments such as painkillers or physiotherapy haven’t worked, and your GP believes your back pain is coming from your facet joints, they may suggest facet denervation – a procedure now available to private patients at our hospital.

What are facet joints?

Facet joints are small pairs of joints, located each side of your spine, which link your vertebrae together. They guide and restrict movement of the spine.

The facet joints are supplied by two nerves which pass through them from the spinal cord to the arms, legs and other parts of the body. The nerves transmit pain sensations from the joints but have very little other function.

How do I know if my back pain is caused by my facet joints?

Here are some of the symptoms that may indicate your pain is coming from the facet joints:

  • A dull ache in the lower back directly over the spine that can spread to the buttocks
  • This aching can also be felt in the neck and can be felt in the shoulders and back of the skull
  • Bending backwards or twisting sideways towards the affected joint will cause pain
  • Standing or periods of inactivity may worsen the pain
  • Pain may be felt down the arms or legs and may be chronic or occur in periodic flare-ups
  • Facet joint symptoms may also mimic the pain of a disc herniation

Pain from the facet joints can feel like a dull ache in the lower back, directly over the spine, and this can spread to the buttocks. In the neck it can be felt in the shoulders and back of the skull.

What is the facet denervation procedure?

A denervation is a commonly used procedure, carried out under local anaesthetic, that permanently stops a nerve transmitting pain. The nerve is blocked by heating it with an electrical current from a special device called a radiofrequency machine.

While the nerve is blocked in this procedure and the relief gained can last for some time, you should be aware that the re-growth of nerves is possible.

How can I access facet denervation as a self-pay patient?

Find out more about facet denervation, or our other treatments for back pain offered to self-pay patients at our hospital.

Today, many people self-pay for their treatment to help them get back on track to better health and wellbeing as quickly as possible. 

If you’re thinking of funding your own treatment, ask us for a quotation by completing our online form or by contacting our Private Patient Team via Livechat or on 01580 363158. 

Published on 03 October 2022