Women and Recovery from Sciatica

Earlier research has suggested that women are more likely to suffer from musculoskeletal conditions such as fibromyalgia and whiplash. But does gender influence your risk of developing and recovering from sciatica?

A team of researchers from the Netherlands sought to see whether gender affected recovery rates in patients with sciatica caused by lumbar disc herniation. They studied a group of 283 patients with severe sciatica who were treated with conservative care, surgery, or a combination of the two. Patients were assessed for disability, function, and pain at the beginning of the study and after one year of treatment. A "good outcome" for treatment was complete or near complete recovery.

After a year of treatment, 83% of patients had recovered, but 17% had ongoing problems. Women were more likely to have persistent pain than men;17% of females had not recovered compared to 11% of males. This indicated that the women had a slower rate of recovery.

Previous studies have not found that women are more likely to suffer from sciatica than men. A cross-sectional study of 2946 women and 2727 men found that gender did not play a significant role in the onset of sciatica. While women may not have a higher risk of developing sciatica, this study from the Netherlands suggests they could be more likely suffer from ongoing symptoms.

Fortunately, the majority of women in the study did recover from sciatic pain with proper treatment. Research shows that patients with sciatica, regardless of gender, respond positively to active treatments like physical therapy and chiropractic care. In fact, chiropractic care, like what we offer our Aloha/Beaverton patients, has been found to be more effective than epidural steroid injections for relieving pain after lumbar disc herniation.

Chiropractic  spinal adjustments can ease pressure on the irritated sciatic nerve, while massage and exercise therapies heal damaged tissues and restore range of motion. Whether you're recovering from lumbar disc herniation or a work injury, our Aloha chiropractors can provide effective relief of sciatic pain.

Call our Aloha clinic today for appointment, (503) 642-2845.


Peterson, CK, et al. Symptomatic Magnetic Resonance Imaging-confirmed lumbar disk herniation patients: a comparative effectiveness prospective observational study of 2 age- and sex-matched cohorts treated with either high-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulative therapy or imaging-guided lumbar nerve root injections. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 2013; doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2013.04.005.

Peul W, Brand R, Thomeer R, and Koes B. Influence of gender and other prognostic factors on outcome of sciatica. Pain 2008;138: 180-191.

 Heliövaara M, et al. Determinantas of sciatica and low-back pain. Spine 1991; 16(6):608-14.. 

August 19, 2013
Doctor Sunita Bhasin, Aloha & Salem, OR

Dr. Sunita Bhasin, D.C.

Dr. Bhasin grew up in Southern California and did her undergraduate work in pre-med at California State University Northridge, as well as Humboldt State University in California. Dr. Bhasin attended the University of Western States in Portland Oregon where she earned her Doctor of Chiropractic Degree. Dr. Bhasin has passed her National boards and her State Boards. Dr. Bhasin loves helping people and finds great joy helping injured people get out of pain and get their life back again. She has helped thousands of patients.