Steroids Found Ineffective for Back Pain
A new study, published in JAMA, found that prednisone, a commonly-prescribed steroid, prednisone, had about the same effectiveness as a placebo pill when it came to treating back pain caused by a herniated disk.
Researchers at Kaiser Permanente randomized 267 people with herniated disks to receive a 15-day course of oral prednisone or a placebo pill. Symptoms for people in both groups had improved by the end of three weeks. At six weeks, the researchers found no statistically significant differences between the two groups in terms of pain or disability scores. By the end of one year, there was still no difference in pain scores, though there was slightly less disability in the prednisone group.
The team hopes that the study helps provide doctors and patients with more information when faced with treatment decisions for lower back pain—especially with a drug like prednisone, which can have numerous side effects.