Risk factors for sciatica

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Faculty of Medicine, Auditorium F202, Aapistie 5B

Topic of the dissertation

Risk factors for sciatica

Doctoral candidate

Licentiate of Medicine Ulla Euro

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Medicine, Center for Life Course Health Research

Subject of study



Docent Marja Mikkelsson, The Päijät-Häme Joint Authority for Health and Wellbeing (PHHYKY)


Professor Jaro Karppinen, University of Oulu, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health

Add event to calendar

Work-related exposures and life-style factors increase the risk of sciatica

Exposure to whole body vibration at work increase the risk of hospitalization for sciatica among overweight and obese participants. Lifting and carrying heavy objects at work or sedentary work involving the handling of heavy objects predicted an increased risk of sciatica.

Walking and cycling to work protected against hospitalization for sciatica. The results of this study showed that sciatic symptoms are already common among adolescents. Young women in particular reported sciatic pain more often than men.

Low back pain at the age of 16 predicted sciatic pain at the age of 18. The aim of this study was to investigate how individual, physical and work-related risk factors associate with the hospitalization for sciatica and to determine the prevalence of sciatic pain among Finnish adolescents.

The data used in this study were from large, population-based Finnish surveys: the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986, The Mobile Clinic Health Examination Survey, the Mini-Finland Health Survey, Health 2000, the Young Finns Study, and the Helsinki Health Studies.

Sciatica is a common musculoskeletal disorder among the working-age population. It causes huge costs to society through work absenteeism and hospital treatments. The common cause of sciatica is the herniated lumbar disc compressing the nerve root and causing pain in the low back radiating to the lower limb. Results of this study show that risk factors for sciatica are complex and can modify each other’s effects.
Last updated: 1.3.2023