Harley Goldberg, DO

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, San Jose

“At Kaiser Permanente we have a unique opportunity to conduct research that benefits our members as well as patients around the world.”

Harley Goldberg, DO, is recognized for his study, “Oral Steroids for Acute Radiculopathy Due to a Herniated Lumbar Disk,” published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (May 2015). Dr. Goldberg initiated the study to answer a question that he and doctors worldwide faced on a daily basis: do oral steroids effectively relieve the pain of acute radiculopathy (sciatica)? At the time, there had been no high-quality studies to answer that question; Dr. Goldberg’s would be the first.

His study showed that among patients with acute radiculopathy, a short course of oral steroids resulted in modestly improved function, but no significant reduction in pain.

“This study adds importantly to the literature in the treatment of the very common condition of acute sciatica by shedding light on assumptions regarding the effectiveness of existing therapies,” says Dr. Goldberg. “We were optimistic that we would show that oral steroids were highly effective therapy, but it’s even more important that we have the truth.”

Evidence that oral steroids are not effective in relieving sciatica pain is particularly important because, although steroids are widely used for many conditions, they can cause serious side effects. Dr. Goldberg’s study supports a possible change in clinical practice at Kaiser Permanente and worldwide.