Effectiveness of rehabilitation after lumbar disc surgery
Sciatica is a syndrome characterised by lower limb pain radiating below the knee in an area of the leg served by one or more nerve roots that arise from the low back. The natural course of sciatica is favourable in the majority of patients, so surgery is only offered if the radiating leg pain persists despite a period of conservative management.
However, for people who undergo lumbar disc surgery, it is common to subsequently receive 1 to 2 face-to-face sessions with a physiotherapist for 6 to 8 weeks. A recent RCT and economic evaluation study has shown that physiotherapists can now achieve similar benefits with a more efficient rehabilitation approach.
The efficient rehabilitation approach consists of: (1) instructions for transfers (eg, bed to stand), (2) advice about performing activities of daily living, and (3) a booklet containing advice -- mainly regarding activities of daily living) and suggestions for exercises, focusing on muscle strengthening, core stability and mobilisation.
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> From: Ostelo et al., J Physiother (2017) (Epub ahead of print). All rights reserved to the Australian Physiotherapy Association. Click here for the online summary.