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Bed rest, physiotherapy, and continuation of activities of daily living were equally effective for sciatica

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 QUESTION: In patients with sciatica of < 1 month of duration, is treatment with bed rest or physiotherapy more effective than continuation of activities of daily living (ADLs)?

Design

Randomised (unclear allocation concealment*), unblinded,* controlled trial with 6 months of follow up.

Setting

Outpatient clinic of a university medical centre in the Hague, the Netherlands.

Patients

250 patients <60 years of age (mean age 39 y, 60% men) who were referred by general practitioners for sciatica with radicular pain lasting <1 month. Exclusion criteria were the cauda equina syndrome, severe weakness, or previous bed rest or physiotherapy. 225 patients (90%) were included in the 6 month follow up.

Intervention

Patients were allocated to bed rest (n=84), physiotherapy (n=83), or continuation of ADLs (n=83). Bed rest could be done …

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