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Testing a new non-surgical sciatica treatment

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(SACRAMENTO) — A new non-surgical treatment that can potentially reduce pain from lumber disc herniation is being tested by spine specialists at UC Davis Health as part of a multicenter, nationwide clinical trial.


Participants are sought for a clinical trial of a nonsurgical treatment for pain from lumbar disc herniation.

A herniated disc happens when tears occur in the soft cartilage that cushions vertebrae. It is one of the most common causes of lower back and leg pain, sometimes called “sciatica.”

“For some patients with excruciating pain, available treatments such as physical therapy and pain relievers do not seem to help,” said principal investigator Kee Kim, professor of neurological surgery and co-director of the UC Davis Spine Center. “We are very excited to be part of a new study for a drug that could potentially relieve disc pressure and compression on the spinal nerve root and possibly avoid surgery.”

Kim and sub-investigator David Copenhaver, associate professor of pain medicine at UC Davis Health, hope to enroll ten people with leg pain due to lumbar disc herniation in the study. Participants will be randomized to receive either a single dose injection of the investigational drug into the intervertebral disc, or a sham injection (no study drug will be injected) into the lumbar muscle near the affected disc. The study sponsor will pay for the cost of the treatment.

Following treatment, participants will receive up to 10 evaluations (including X-ray and MRI assessments) at the UC Davis Spine Center in Sacramento over the course of a year. Participants may be compensated for their time and travel.

For more information on the study, including additional criteria for enrolling, please contact study coordinator Janice Wang-Polagruto at 916-915-0425 or visit

The UC Davis Spine Center is an interdisciplinary program designed to help patients of all ages and stages of spinal disorders return to their optimal level of functioning. Consultation and treatment services include neurosurgery, orthopaedic surgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation, pain diagnostics and management, and physical therapy. More information is at