Low back pain can be a serious problem during pregnancy: studies show that over half of women report back pain at some point during pregnancy. Furthermore, as a new study1 explains, many women experience their first episode of back pain during pregnancy:
“The incidence of low back pain with an onset during pregnancy has been reported to be 61%. It has been shown that among women with low back pain of pregnancy, 75% reported no low back pain before pregnancy. In a study of women with chronic low back pain, up to 28% stated that their first episode of back pain occurred during a pregnancy.”
In this report, the authors studied 17 women with low back pain lasting an average of 21.7 days. The intensity of the back pain was 5.9 on a 1-10 scale, and the onset of pain occurred at 20.6 weeks into the pregnancy.
Each study participant was treated according to the particular symptoms that the patient was experiencing. The authors reported the following:
- About half of the women were self-referred, and the other half were referred by their obstetrician.
- The average time to reach clinically significant pain relief was 4.5 days, while the range was from 0 to 13 days after the initial treatment.
- The average number of treatments necessary to reach clinically relevant pain relief was 1.8.
- The pain levels decreased from the 5.9 at the beginning of the study to 1.5 at the end.
- The patients received between 3 to 15 treatments, with the average being 5.6.
- One patient did not experience clinically significant pain reduction.
- There were no adverse reactions reported by any of the patients.
Low back pain during pregnancy may not seem like a serious problem, but it can have adverse affects on the woman’s health, as the authors explain:
“In most instances, the average pain level is moderate, but severe pain has been reported in 15% of cases. Pain intensity often increases with duration and can result in significant disability. Sleep disturbances have been reported by 49% to 58% of women and impaired daily living by 57% in women with low back pain of pregnancy.
“Despite the apparent impact it has on women, many cases of low back pain of pregnancy go unreported to prenatal providers and/or untreated. Wang et al. found that just 32% of women reported their low back pain of pregnancy to their prenatal providers, and just 25% of these providers recommended a treatment. Skaggs et al. found that among women with low back pain of pregnancy, 80% thought that their providers had not offered treatment for their back pain.”
This study shows that chiropractic effectively reduced pain from low back pain during pregnancy, without any adverse effects.
Lisi AJ. Chiropractic spinal manipulation for low back pain of pregnancy: a retrospective case series. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health 2006;51:e7-e10.