Back pain, with or without sciatic radiation, may come from a number of anatomical sites. Radiofrequency facet denervation suggests that a majority of patients seem to have pain referred from distress of the facet joints or the sacro-iliac joints. In those patients who are properly selected and have not had previous surgical treatment, radiofrequency denervation of the appropriate facet joints yields partial to total relief of pain in 82% of cases. The technique for doing this procedure and for selection of patients must be followed very closely but in over 800 patients surveyeyed for this report no neurologic complications have been reported. Facet denervation, when indicated, is proposed as a safe alternative to either chemonucleolysis or surgery.