Many women experience lower back pain while pregnant. In fact, studies show that more than half of pregnant women report back pain at some point during their pregnancy.
A recent study found that for many women, pregnancy is the first time they have experienced back pain. The authors state,
“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.”
Chiropractic treatments may be beneficial for women who experience back pain during pregnancy. Researchers recently studied 17 pregnant women with lower back pain. The pain lasted an average of 21.7 days, and was rated an average of 5.9 on a scale of 1 to 10. The pain began an average of 20.6 weeks into the pregnancy. Each participant underwent chiropractic treatments individualized to their reported symptoms. The authors found that:
- About half of the women referred themselves for treatment, while the other half were referred by their obstetrician.
- It took an average of 4.5 days for the women to achieve clinically significant pain relief. The range was 0 to 13 days following the first treatment session.
- An average of 1.8 treatments were needed to reach clinically significant pain relief.
- Average pain levels decreased from 5.9 to 1.5 at the conclusion of the study.
- Patients received 3 to 15 treatments, with an average of 5.6.
- One participant of the 17 women involved did not experience clinically significant pain reduction during the study.
- No patients reported adverse reactions.
Lower back pain during pregnancy can detrimentally impact women’s overall health. The study 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.”
However, many women do not report their back pain to their doctor, and it goes untreated. A previous study 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.” Other research has found that “among women with low back pain of pregnancy, 80% thought that their providers had not offered treatment for their back pain.”
If you’re experiencing back pain as a pregnant woman, it’s important to know you don’t have to suffer through the pain. This research demonstrates that chiropractic care is an effective, safe way to reduce low-back pain during pregnancy.
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.