A pilot study on the recovery from paresis after lumbar disc herniation.
ABSTRACT Although the existence of a motor defect in discogenic sciatica is a sign of severity, the literature does not provide evidence for an immediate requirement for surgery.
To assess the course of sciatica with discogenic paresis and to determine possible prognostic factors for recovery or improvement.
This open prospective multicenter study included patients with discogenic sciatica with paresis that had been developing for less than 1 month and was rated < or =3 on a 5-grade scale. Pain, the strength of 11 muscles, return to work, and analgesic intake were assessed at 1, 3, and 6 months. Recovery and improvement were defined by pain not exceeding 20 mm or < or =50% of the initial pain score and a score of either 5 (recovery) or 4 (improvement) for the weakest muscle at inclusion.
Sixty-seven patients were enrolled; 39 (58%) patients were treated surgically and 28 (42%) medically. Surgically treated patients differed from medically treated patients by a higher rate of extruded herniation, a higher number of paretic muscles (6.3 vs. 5; P = 0.051), and a longer course of sciatica (31.4 vs. 17.3 days; P = 0.034). At 6 months, 7 (10.4%) patients were lost to follow-up; 32 (53.3%) had improved, including 18 (30%) recovered, 33 (85%) back to work and having a professional activity, and 22 (39%) still taking analgesics. The only significant difference between recovered and not recovered patients was mean age at inclusion (43 vs. 51 years, P = 0.034). There were no significant differences between improved and not improved patients. Moreover, the outcome was not different in the two treatment groups: there were 17 (53%) improvements in surgically treated patients, including 8 (25%) recoveries, and 14 (56%) improvements in medically treated patients, including 8 (40%) recoveries.
This pilot study showed no difference between surgical or medical management for recovery or improvement in patients with discogenic paresis. These results need confirmation by a randomized study.
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ABSTRACT: Recovery is commonly used as an outcome measure in low back pain (LBP) research. There is, however, no accepted definition of what recovery involves or guidance as to how it should be measured. The objective of the study was designed to appraise the LBP literature from the last 10 years to review the methods used to measure recovery. The research design includes electronic searches of Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, Cochrane database of clinical trials and PEDro from the beginning of 1999 to December 2008. All prospective studies of subjects with non-specific LBP that measured recovery as an outcome were included. The way in which recovery was measured was extracted and categorised according to the domain used to assess recovery. Eighty-two included studies used 66 different measures of recovery. Fifty-nine of the measures did not appear in more than one study. Seventeen measures used pain as a proxy for recovery, seven used disability or function and seventeen were based on a combination of two or more constructs. There were nine single-item recovery rating scales. Eleven studies used a global change scale that included an anchor of 'completely recovered'. Three measures used return to work as the recovery criterion, two used time to insurance claim closure and six used physical performance. In conclusion, almost every study that measured recovery from LBP in the last 10 years did so differently. This lack of consistency makes interpretation and comparison of the LBP literature problematic. It is likely that the failure to use a standardised measure of recovery is due to the absence of an established definition, and highlights the need for such a definition in back pain research.European Spine Journal 01/2011; 20(1):9-18. · 1.97 Impact Factor