Women suffering from low back pain during pregnancy do not have many options open to them and chiropractic is possibly their best choice. Chiropractic care for low back pain during pregnancy is not only safe but effective according to several recent studies. As a chiropractor I am biased towards what I do but I also understand that anecdotal evidence is not exactly strong enough to always justify any treatment modality. I could say that I have successfully managed a number of women with low back pain during pregnancy and that they typically respond really well. I could say that I have successfully managed my wife’s spine pain during 3 out of 4 pregnancies, the first pregnancy was while I was in school and before I was able to provide any treatment in the student clinic. Neither of these statements carry as much weight, though, as these two recent paper published in peer reviewed journals.
This first paper was published in the April 2013 edition of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. It is a great paper that compares standard obstetric care for pregnant women with low back pain to standard care plus chiropractic. The major treatment difference was the chiropractic group, besides obstetric care, received adjustments, soft tissue work, exercises, and low back pain education from a chiropractor. The group that received chiropractic care showed significant improvements in pain and function measured by standardized, outcome assessment tests. The group that got standard obstetric care only had no improvement in pain or function as measured by the same tests.
This second paper paper was published in the April 2014 edition of the journal Chiropractic and Manual Therapies. These authors collected data from women who sought chiropractic care for their low back pain during pregnancy. They noted that out of 115 women 52% reported improvement within 1 week, 70% noted improvement at 1 month, 85% at 3 months, 90% at 6 months, and 88% at 1 year. The authors note that at the 1 year follow-up all women had delivered their babies and the pain present was due to low back conditions that existed before becoming pregnant.
The evidence strongly suggests that chiropractic care is very effective in managing low back pain during pregnancy. Moreover in theses studies the authors noted that there were no adverse events reported by the women involved. This indicates that there is little to no risk in getting care from a chiropractor during pregnancy. We have found that pregnant women usually require a few visits at first to reduce the intensity of the low back pain but after that care can vary as needed by each individual woman. As each pregnancy is different so too is how we treat each woman. For some we have had to see them as much as once a week during a pregnancy, others we saw only about 6 visits. Our care includes spinal adjustments, soft tissue work, stretching, and advice for home care. In all of these cases, the women experience significant and often complete relief of pain and no adverse events.
If you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant and worried about back pain, give us a call we would be happy to discuss your questions, concerns, and options.