• Back pain medication questionable – researchers

    Will those steroid pills really help kill the pain?
    Date:2 July 2015 Tags:, ,

    Common steroid medication used to treat the lower leg and back pain of sciatica due to a herniated disc is of questionable efficacy, researchers have found.

    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 rest 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, favouring the steroid group, but no difference in pain scores. The patients receiving steroids experienced more side-effects compared with the placebo group.

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