Table 1

Baseline characteristics of 85 patients with sciatica randomly assigned to receive placebo (control) or epidural corticosteroids (steroids). Data are shown as means (SD) or number (%) of patients

Control (n=42)Steroids (n=43)
*n=42; †n=41.
Age (years), mean (SD)38.4 (8.8)43.5 (11.8)
Male sex (%)26 (62)26 (60)
History
First episode of low back pain (%)6 (14)6 (14)
Sudden onset (%)21 (50)24 (56)
Radicular level affected (%)
    L59 (21)16 (37)
    S132 (76)27 (63)
    L5 and S11 (2)0 (0)
Mean duration of symptoms (days), mean (SD)56.5 (42.6)40.9 (36.2)
Sick leave
Median duration (days)1715
Clinical data
Pain VAS (0–100 mm), mean (SD)58.0 (16.6)57.5 (16.3)
Schober’s test (cm), mean (SD)2.2 (1.1)†2.2 (1.0)
SLR test (degree), mean (SD)45.6 (17.0)46.2 (13.0)
Sensory deficit (%)12 (29)10 (23)
Motor deficit (%)6 (14)6 (14)
Reflex changes (%)15 (36)13 (30)
Dallas pain questionnaire
    Daily activities (%), mean (SD)68.7 (14.7)66.3 (15.1)*
    Work-leisure activities (%), mean (SD)78.3 (17.8)73.3 (17.1)*
    Anxiety-depression (%), mean (SD)33.5 (23.3)28.7 (28.1)*
    Social interest (%), mean (SD)25.1 (19.4)†28.7 (21.0)†
Roland-Morris index (0–24), mean (SD)14.2 (4.2)15.1 (4.7)