Physiotherapy management of sciatica


The enormous economic burden of low back pain across the world has been widely studied and well documented. However, the financial implications of sciatica are not as well understood. This, in part, is due to the disparity in definitions and data collection methodology, resulting in variations in the recorded incidence and prevalence of sciatica globally.

In his Journal of Physiotherapy Invited Topical Review article, Professor Raymond Ostelo delves into the world of sciatica – forging a path from definitions to diagnosis, prognosis and the all-important clinical management.

The diagram below provides a snapshot of management guidelines practitioners could consider in clinical practice. The recommendations, based on available research conducted to date, provide some guidance on the effectiveness of interventions and outcomes of their implementation.

While increased research and conformity surrounding data collection is warranted, Ostelo provides a clear overview of recommended management practices, while acknowledging further research is essential in ensuring greater insight and improved outcomes for patients and practitioners alike.

For more information and to read the entire Invited Topical Review article, click here.


Raymond Ostelo is professor of evidence-based physiotherapy. He is one of the program directors of the Amsterdam Movement Sciences Research Institute and is leading the musculoskeletal research section of the department of Health Sciences at Vrije University in Amsterdam.