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In a study of people who had 6 to 12 weeks of severe sciatica related to a herniated disc, one group was assigned to have surgery soon (the surgery group). The other group (the nonsurgical group) was assigned to try nonsurgical treatments for 6 months, followed by surgery if their symptoms didn't improve.
When asked about their recovery 2 months after surgery or the start of nonsurgical treatment, people in the surgery group felt better (closer to complete recovery) than people in the nonsurgical group. But after 1 year, both treatment groups rated their recovery about the same.
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