Evid Based Med 18:63-64 doi:10.1136/eb-2012-100805
  • Therapeutics
  • Randomised controlled trial

Exercise may be beneficial for patients with chronic severe sciatica who would normally qualify for surgery

  1. Federico Balagué2
  1. 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, New York University, New York, USA
  2. 2Department of Rheumatology, Hospital Cantonal Fribourg and Geneva University, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Margareta C Nordin
    Department of Orthopedic Surgery, New York University, NYU/HJD/OIOC, 63 Downing Street, New York, NY 10014, USA; margareta.nordin{at}

Commentary on:


The role of conservative treatment and exercise still remain uncertain for severe sciatica.


This prospective single-blind, randomised, controlled trial compares two active exercise programmes for patients with severe sciatica. In the county of Funen, patients are referred by general practitioners, rheumatologists or chiropractors to a state funded regional facility ‘Back Center Funen’ for specialty care. The two treatment arms proposed are identical except for the exercise regimens; both groups received thorough information (anatomy of the spine, the pathogenesis of a herniated disc and the natural healing process); a special emphasis was made on the positive prognosis of sciatica. The exercise regimens differed; …

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