A common treatment for sciatica no better than placebo find out what it is next. Steroids No Better for Sciatica Pain Than Placebo Kathleen Doheny writing for Healthday reported doctors often prescribe steroid pills to ease the discomfort of sciatica. But a new study finds steroids are no more effective than a placebo pill for the pain and provide only modest improvement in function. For this study, 269 people with sciatica were randomly assigned to take an oral steroid prednisone or a placebo a dummy medication for 15 days. The participants were followed.