Sciatica: Internet Search Trends
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Background Sciatica carries a significant health burden in the world as the lifetime incidence of sciatica estimated between 13% to 40%. We used modern scientific tools to assess the online health interest of sciatica and lower back pain. Material and methods Google Trends, Wikipedia statistics and PubMed data were used to gauge the online public interest in sciatica and lower back pain. Results Over the last five years, (2015–2019) the Wikipedia page for sciatica has ranked high in all four categories it was included in; this shows that sciatica is a major concern for the public. Wikipedia page views on sciatica and low back pain show a 28% and 90% increase respectively from July 2015 to March 2019. In the last eleven years (2008–2019) Google Trends shows that sciatica has had a 2-fold increase in search frequency worldwide on the web, a 6-fold increase on YouTube and a 3-fold increase on Google images. Scientific interest in sciatica is low (only 140 PubMed publications in 2018). Conclusions The public has a relatively high online interest concerning sciatica and back pain and this interest is rising. We suggest that hospitals clearly address the causes, pathophysiology, and management of sciatica to their patients to account for this increase.
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