One of the most common solutions for sciatica pain that orthopedic doctors prescribe to their patients are steroids, however it was recently found out in a study by the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) that steroid pills have very little effect in alleviating the pain of people suffering from back and leg pain. Sciatica is mostly caused by a herniated disc somewhere in the lower back.
The study was conducted by gathering 296 people who wanted sciatica relief. Some people were given steroids, while others were given placebo pills. For over a year the two group of participants were monitored and their reactions were recorded. According to the results there was no marginal difference between the levels of pain that the two groups experienced—in other words, the steroid pills did no better than the placebo pills. The study was not in any way disproving the effects of steroids on people with sciatica problems, but instead is informing both the doctors and the public that they can also seek other methods for treatment, instead of just prescribing steroids.
Some alternatives that are offered in numerous health centers, like MedWell Spine, OsteoArthritis & Neuropathy Center in Paramus, NJ, suggest one-on-one physical therapy, exercise, and nutrition counseling as easy, non-surgical treatments. Many people have already sworn by the effectiveness of these alternative treatments, and many more have been becoming more interested in it because of the rise in awareness.
Physical therapy and regulated exercise can be considered as a more medical form of working out. For one, the person facilitating your training is someone knowledgeable in helping heal musculoskeletal injuries and infirmities. Secondly, the main objective of the treatment is not necessarily just to lose weight or build muscles, but rather, to rehabilitate and bring back the strength to the body. The main idea behind this is that the muscles and bones need to be strengthened without damaging them (a common problem for misguided gym lovers). Furthermore, there seems to be a link between sciatica pain and weight loss. As for nutrition counseling, the main goal is of course to supplement the body with the right vitamins and minerals that will allow faster muscle healing and stronger bones.
Alone, steroid pills may not create a significant difference between the two groups, but when combined with other non-surgical treatments, then the person could receive a higher chance of success in dealing with sciatica pain.
(What Is the Placebo Effect?, webmd.com)
(Oral Steroids for Acute Radiculopathy Due to a Herniated Lumbar Disk: A Randomized Clinical Trial, jama.jamanetwork.com)
(Oral Steroids May Be Ineffective Against Sciatica Back Pain, well.blogs.nytimes)
(Steroids No Better Than Placebo for Sciatica Pain: Study, newsmax.com)