The OASIS study is a clinical trial that tests whether oral steroid medicines are effective in reducing pain in people with acute sciatica. It is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and is led by a team from the University of Sydney.
To check your eligibility
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a lumbar condition characterized by pain radiating down the back of the leg, in the distribution of a spinal nerve root, and may be accompanied by changes in strength, sensation (e.g. pins and needles) and reflex activities of the leg.
What is the cause?
Sciatica can be caused due to pressure on a major nerve that supplies the leg, the sciatic nerve, such as:
Bulging or herniated disc in the lower spine (the most common cause)
Spine degeneration (usually more common in older individuals )
Piriformis syndrome (tightness of the piriformis muscle)
Any traumatic injury that places pressure on lower spine
Inflammation from arthritis, sprains, joint slippage or infection
A class of steroid medicines, corticosteroids or glucocorticoids, have anti-inflammatory actions, and may target the inflammation associated with pressure on the nerve. It is thought that the inflammation can cause the symptoms and signs of sciatica.
People with sciatica have few effective treatment options and often experience significant pain or limitations in function.
Clinical trials suggest that steroid medicines may be effective in treating sciatica – but this needs further confirmation.