Prognosis of sciatica

by Rachel

The prognosis of a patient with sciatica will depend on the cause of the symptoms, and if the cause can be identified. Most cases of sciatica are treatable with pain medication and physical therapy. After 4-6 weeks of treatment, an individual should be able to resume normal activities.

According to one study, about a third of patients with uncomplicated low back pain significantly improved after a week; two thirds recovered by 7 weeks.

However, studies now suggest that up to 75% of patients suffer at least one recurrence of back pain over the course of a year. In another study, after 4 years, less than half were symptom-free.

The herniated portion of an intervertebral disc causing sciatica tends to regress over time; 66% of people have at least partial resolution after 6 months

In many sciatica cases, the specific cause is never identified. About half of affected individuals recover from an episode within a month. Some cases can linger a few weeks longer and may require aggressive treatment. In some cases, the pain may return or potentially become chronic.


In some cases, sciatica can result in permanent nerve damage, although this is uncommon. Depending on what’s causing the nerve to be compressed, other complications may occur, including loss of feeling or movement in the affected leg and loss of bowel or bladder function.



~ by pcl4 on September 18, 2008.

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