Sciatica: Internet Search Trends
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Background: Sciatica is a significant global health burden with a lifetime incidence estimated between 13% and 40%. In our study, we assessed the online health interest in 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: In the years 2015-2019 the Wikipedia page about sciatica has ranked high in all four categories it was included in, thus demonstrating that sciatica is a significant concern for the public. Wikipedia pages about sciatica and low back pain had a respectively 28% and 90% increase in views from July 2015 to March 2019. In the last eleven years (2008-2019) Google Trends demonstrates 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. In contrast, scientific interest in sciatica is low (only 140 PubMed publications in 2018). Conclusions: People have a relatively high and increasing online interest concerning sciatica and back pain. As a response, we suggest that hospital staff clearly provide reliable and understandable information to their patients concerning sciatica and lower back pain treatment.
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