What is sciatica?

Just delighted to have been able to work with the amazing Annina Schmidt, Laura Bassi and Joel Fundan to create this short video called ‘What is Sciatica?’.  We hope it will be the first of a series of short videos aimed at helping people living with sciatica and their friends, colleagues and family to understand sciatica better.

Neuropathic Pain Special Interest Group of IASP

Delighted to have been invited as an expert with lived experience in the field of sciatica and neuropathic pain to be a member of a working group commissioned by The Neuropathic Pain Special Interest Group of the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP).  The remit of the group is to find consensus on the terminology used to define radiating leg pain, as well as on the identification of neuropathic pain in people with ‘sciatica’.   

FORECAST Research Project

Proud to be a patient partner on the FORECAST Study.  The following is a summary of this important study, which has recently received funding.  

Sciatica is a common condition that originates from injured or irritated nerves in the back. It
usually causes pain, tingling or weakness in the leg. It can have a devastating effect on
everyday life including inability to work or care for family. Sciatica is commonly treated with
medication or physiotherapy (non-invasive treatment); some patients may be offered
injections and/or surgery (invasive treatment). However, a third of patients continue to
develop persistent symptoms lasting one year or longer.

We currently do not understand, who will continue to have persistent pain and who will have
a full recovery. None of the usual clinical factors can predict persistent sciatica (for instance
symptom severity/duration, psychological factors). Given the failure of standard clinical
variables as reliable prognostic factors, a different approach is needed to identify who may
develop persistent sciatica. Our research project is different to previous studies. Whereas
previous studies only included a limited clinical examination, we will perform a precise and
comprehensive set of tests (deep phenotyping) that aim to identify pain mechanisms. The
tests we will perform include detailed sensory testing, specialised nerve-imaging looking at
nerve microstructure, evaluation of inflammatory molecules in the blood and emotional
wellbeing. Based on promising results from pharmacological studies in patients with nerve-
related pain, we hypothesise that deep phenotyping may be able to predict pain persistence.
The results of our study will help us better understand why some people develop persistent
pain and will inform future research that aims to improve the management for those at risk of
developing persistent pain.

'Sciatica: The Clinician's Guide' by Tom Jesson

Delighted to have had an influence on Tom Jesson’s thoughts for his amazing book on Sciatica for clinicians.   

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Last modified: 08/04/2022

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