SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association
Common Therapy Used to Treat Lower Leg and Back Pain has Questionable Efficacy
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.