Steroid Epidurals Can Help Relieve Sciatica

A recent randomised trial published in Annals of Internal Medicine by Cohen and his colleagues shows that steroid epidurals can help relieve sciatica. They found that “75% of patients treated with epidural steroids reported 50% or greater leg pain relief and a positive global perceived effect at 1 month”.  Of course, an epidural is an invasive treatment with associated risks and would probably not be the first choice of treatment. Conservative therapies such as physiotherapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc. should be the first port of call. In addition, your GP may prescribe anti-inflammatories and analgesia. Only in cases of severe sciatica when conservative treatment has not been effective should an epidural be envisaged.

Over time the healing process should help settle the sciatica, irrespective of whether or not a steroid epidural is performed, but an epidural can catalyse the process by decreasing pain, decreasing anxiety and stress, increasing mobility and allowing the participation in physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

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