One article on PainSci cites Fernandez 2015: How to Treat Sciatic Nerve Pain
PainSci commentary on Fernandez 2015: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.
A small review of just five trials of mixed quality showing that supervised, “structured” therapeutic exercise — allegedly tailored for the treatment of back pain and sciatica — was only slightly more effective than simply advising patients to stay active in the short term (and no difference at all in the long term).
~ Paul Ingraham
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
STUDY DESIGN: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the evidence on comparative effectiveness of advice to stay active versus supervised structured exercise in the management of sciatica.
SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA: Conservative management of sciatica usually includes interventions to promote physical activity in the form of advice to stay active or exercise, but there has been no systematic review directly comparing the effectiveness of these 2 approaches.
METHODS: Data Sources included MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, and PEDro databases. Studies were randomized controlled trials comparing advice with exercise. Two independent reviewers extracted data and assessed methodological quality using the PEDro scale. Pain and disability data were extracted for all time points and converted to a common 0 to 100 scale. Data were pooled with a random effects model for short, intermediate, and long-term follow-ups. The GRADE approach was used to summarize the strength of evidence.
RESULTS: Five trials were included in the meta-analysis, which showed a significant, although small effect favoring exercise over advice for reducing leg pain intensity in the short term (weighted mean difference: 11.43 [95% confidence interval, 0.71-22.16]) but no difference for disability (weighted mean difference: 1.45 [95% confidence interval, -2.86 to 5.76]). Furthermore, there was no difference at intermediate and long-term follow-ups between advice and exercise for patient-relevant outcomes.
CONCLUSION: There is low-quality evidence (GRADE) that exercise provides small, superior effects compared with advice to stay active on leg pain in the short term for patients experiencing sciatica. However, there is moderate-quality evidence showing no difference between advice to stay active and exercise on leg pain and disability status in people with sciatica in the long term.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 1.
- “Surgery or physical activity in the management of sciatica: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” Fernandez et al, European Spine Journal, 2016.
Specifically regarding Fernandez 2015:
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Cannabidiol (CBD) products for pain: ineffective, expensive, and with potential harms. Moore 2023 J Pain.
- Inciting events associated with lumbar disc herniation. Suri 2010 Spine J.
- Prediction of an extruded fragment in lumbar disc patients from clinical presentations. Pople 1994 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- Characteristics of patients with low back and leg pain seeking treatment in primary care: baseline results from the ATLAS cohort study. Konstantinou 2015 BMC Musculoskelet Disord.
- Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of universal school-based mindfulness training compared with normal school provision in reducing risk of mental health problems and promoting well-being in adolescence: the MYRIAD cluster randomised controlled trial. Kuyken 2022 Evid Based Ment Health.