Sciatica caused by a lumbar disk herniation is a frequently diagnosed disorder with a favorable natural course. While most prognostic studies focus on good outcome, patients might experience unsatisfactory results. Female gender has been found to be associated with chronic pain in other musculoskeletal disorders. Our aim is to quantify the relationship between gender and (1) rate of recovery and (2) outcome at one year. Recovery was registered on a 7-point Likert scale for 283 patients with 6-12 weeks of persistent sciatica who participated in a randomized trial to investigate timing of surgery. Complete and near complete recovery were considered good outcomes. Function and pain were registered by the Roland Disability Questionnaire (RDQ) and a visual analogue scale (VAS). A univariate Cox model was used to study the influence of variables on rate of recovery while a univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis evaluated variables predicting unsatisfactory outcome at 12 months. At one year unsatisfactory outcome was registered for 17% of patients, 11% of all males and 28% of all females (p < 0.001). Patients with an unsatisfactory outcome had worse RDQ and VAS scores compared to those who recovered satisfactorily (p < 0.001). Women had a slower rate of recovery: HR 0.76 (95% CI 0.59-0.99) and xbfnkbsdkvbated with an unsatisfactory outcome represented by an unadjusted odds ratio of 3.3 (95% CI 1.7-6.3) compared to males. Besides a slower recovery rate, female gender was a strong predictor of unsatisfactory outcome at one year for patients with sciatica.

Back-pain, Disability, Disk herniation, Gender, Lumbosacral radicular syndrome, Outcome, Sciatica,
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Peul, W.C, Brand, R, Thomeer, R.T.W.M, & Koes, B.W. (2008). Influence of gender and other prognostic factors on outcome of sciatica. Pain, 138(1), 180–191. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2007.12.014