Table 1

Participant characteristics4 13

Participant, age and sexWork status and occupationSymptomsSymptom durationNeurological findingsPathway management for this episode of sciaticaMRI findings*Likely next step
Julia
63 years Female
Part-time office workerLeg pain, altered sensation, giving way and antalgic gait3 yearsPositive ipsilateral SLR and impaired sensation power or reflexesGP, physio, podiatry, private chiropractor and specialist physiotherapist1Nerve root block
Catherine
60 years, Female
Unemployed
shop worker
Leg pain, altered sensation and cramp; back ache (leg pain>back) and difficulty weight bearing11.5 months? Positive ipsilateral SLR (unclear data)GP, physio, private physio and specialist physiotherapist2Self-management with review
David
74 years
Male
Retired professionalLeg pain>back pain and difficulty weight bearing3 monthsImpaired sensation power or reflexesGP, physio, private physio and specialist physiotherapist1Self-management
John
34 years
Male
Unemployed delivery driverLeg pain9 monthsPositive ipsilateral SLRGP, physio, private physio, specialist physiotherapist3Primary care physio
Daniel
37 years
Male
Shop worker: on sick leaveLeg and back pain; back spasm, leg giving way, saddle anaesthesia21 monthsPositive ipsilateral SLR and impaired sensation power or reflexesGP and physio, specialist physiotherapist and two nerve root blocks (at pain clinic)2Pain management programme
Janet
73 years Female
RetiredLeg pain back pain, leg giving way, foot numb, difficulty weight bearing7 monthsPositive ipsilateral SLRGP, physio, private physio and specialist physiotherapist1Nerve root block
Bill
61 years
Male
Part-time manual workerLeg pain, back pain, altered sensation in legs, leg giving way10 monthsPositive ipsilateral SLR and impaired sensation power or reflexesGP and specialist physiotherapist1†MDT review
Claire
45 years Female
UnemployedLeg pain>back pain, altered sensation leg and foot15 monthsImpaired sensation power or reflexesGP, physio and specialist physiotherapist2Nerve root block
Ruth
74 years Female
Retired shop workerLeg pain3 monthsPositive ipsilateral SLRGP, physio and specialist physiotherapist1Physio
(Unclear why nerve root block not offered)
Henry
81 years
Male
Retired manual workerLeg pain and difficulty weight bearing8 monthsPositive ipsilateral SLRGP, physio and specialist physiotherapist3Review appt with spinal specialist
Frances
72 years
Male
Retired office workerLeg pain and altered sensation in leg and foot18 months–2 yearsImpaired sensation power or reflexesGP, physio and spinal specialist. Specialist physiotherapist and surgical opinion in last flare-up.1†MDT review
Aisha
35 years Female
Office worker; currently off sickBack and leg pain and altered sensation in legs6 years (6 month this episode)Positive ipsilateral SLRGP, physio and spinal specialist1Surgical opinion
Gareth
45 years Male
Office and manual worker; on light dutiesLeg>back pain and altered sensation and spasm in legs and feet7 yearsPositive ipsilateral SLRGP, physio and specialist physiotherapist2Offered but declined pain management
Joanne
46 years Female
HousewifeBack and leg pain, altered sensation in legs and foot, saddle anaesthesia3 yearsPositive ipsilateral SLRGP, physio and spinal specialist. Previous visit to spinal specialist. Pain management programme2Physio
  • GP: General Practitioner SLR: straight leg raise

  • *MRI results’ categories: 1 Consistent with sciatica of nerve root origin. 2: Potentially relevant to symptoms but not consistent with sciatica of nerve root origin. 3: Do not appear relevant to patient’s symptoms.

  • †Multidisciplinary team (MDT) review: meeting with pain clinic consultant and orthopaedic surgeon to ascertain.