• 30-JUN-2015

Common Therapy Used to Treat Lower Leg and Back Pain has Questionable Efficacy

Many patients with sciatica endure substantial pain and disability. Oral steroids are often prescribed for patients who do not recover quickly. A study looked at a common oral steroid medication and its effectiveness in decreasing pain and improving function for patients with sciatica due to a herniated disc.

Researchers from Kaiser Permanente Northern California studied 269 patients who had sciatica due to a herniated disc. Two thirds were given an oral steroid and the other third received a placebo. Patients were assessed for pain and overall function after three weeks, and again at one year.

The researchers found a small, statistically significant improvement in function, favoring the steroid group, but no difference in pain scores. The patients receiving steroids experienced more side effects compared to placebo.