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February/March 2014 (vol. 10/5)

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Research Plus

Modifiable risk factors for sciatica

A systematic review finds both modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors for new-onset sciatica. Eight papers met inclusion criteria, seven of which were from Finland. Incidence rates range from 0.64%–4.1%, when restricted to hospitalised cases, and 5.7%–37% when sciatica is defined as referred pain in the leg. Identified modifiable risk factors are smoking status, obesity/ overweight and working in a manual occupation. Non-modifiable risk factors are age and history of back pain. Evidence quality is generally good or moderate, with low risk of bias in two papers and moderate in five. The authors advise caution in interpreting the results because the identified modifiable risk factors are also associated with other potential contributory factors, such as lower socioeconomic status and unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Risk Factors for First Time Incidence Sciatica: A Systematic Review. Physiotherapy Research International 2013; online first: doi: 10.1002/pri.1572

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Occupational Health at Work February/March 2014 (vol. 10/5) pp41