Intravenous Corticosteroid Therapy for Acute Lumbar Radicular Pain

Oded Hershkovich*, Yaakov Mor, Raphael Lotan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The efficacy of pharmacological interventions for acute lumbar radicular pain (ALRP) is limited, and systemic steroid use remains controversial. We evaluated the effectiveness and tolerance of systemic steroid use in a cohort of patients with ALRP. Methods: A retrospective cohort of 56 patients (including 24 females) were admitted with intractable ALRP resistance to conservative treatment of NSAIDs and opiates between the years 2016 and 2018. Medical records were studied for demographics, physical examination findings, Visual Analogue Score (VAS), IV steroids side effects, and recent imaging findings. All patients received a daily dose of IV 24 mg Dexamethasone until discharge, SNRB, or surgery. Results: The average IV steroid treatment was 3.9 (±2.8) days, with most patients showing significant pain relief allowing discharge (69.7%). SNRB was required in 19.6% and surgical intervention in 10.7% within the same admission. Multivariate analysis did not find any parameter to predict treatment failure (age, gender, motor/sensory deficit, CT/MRI findings). The motor deficit, positive straight leg raising (SLR), and dural sac compression on CT were higher in the intervention group but did not reach statistical significance. One patient required discontinuation of IV steroids due to elevated blood pressure. Conclusions: Despite the insufficient evidence in the literature, IV steroid treatment is still a viable option in ALRP treatment, with pain relief allowing discharge in 70% of patients and a low complication rate. Our study found daily 24 mg IV dexamethasone for ALRP to be an effective treatment and helpful in most patients admitted. This study supports the common practice used by spine units.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5127
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • herniated disc
  • pharmacotherapy
  • radiculopathy
  • sciatica
  • steroid treatment


Dive into the research topics of 'Intravenous Corticosteroid Therapy for Acute Lumbar Radicular Pain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this