Podcast 11: What’s in a name? Making sense of ‘sciatica’ with Tom Jesson


Welcome another episode of the Words Matter Podcast.

On this episode I spoke with Tom Jesson. Tom is a musculoskeletal physiotherapist from Northumberland in the UK, who has recently moved to Michigan, in the USA.

Tom has developed an interest in sciatica after a popular twitter thread and continues his deep immersion into the sciatica literature.

I first became aware of Tom from his excellent episodes both as a host and guest on the Physio Matters Podcast, where he has talked about his deep dive into the sciatica literature and also a truly exceptional episode with John Launer on Narrative medicine, and recently an engaging and insightful episode with Tina Price on her experience of living with sciatic pain.

Having listened to Tom’s thoughtful analysis and discussion on these topics, I had to get him on the podcast to talk about these issues further.

So in this episode we talk about:

  • The different diagnostic labels associated with sciatica and the implications of using these terms with patients.
  • The issue of accuracy and precision both from a medical and terminological perspective.
  • The challenge of naming and labelling complex subjective phenomena relating to a pain experience.
  • The sacrificing of precise terms for terms for which are more meaningful and functional for the person with sciatica.

Tom was a brilliant guest and I really enjoyed the conversation.

It’s clear he’s really taken time for think deeply and critically about these important and often extremely challenging areas of clinical practice.

Find Tom on Twitter @thomas_jesson and check our his excellent newsletter for all things sciatica and radicular relate and for more about Tom see his personal website

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