A study called "The treatment experience of patients with low back pain during pregnancy and their chiropractors: a qualitative study" was published earlier this month in the journal Chiropractic & Manual Therapies. This study was a survey-based investigation into whether chiropractic is safe and effective for pregnant women.
Although the numbers of women and chiropractors contacted for this pilot study were relatively low, I was struck by how similar their experiences are to my own. Women who seek chiropractic care in my office when experiencing back pain during pregnancy often find relief. And even more importantly, each woman feels more prepared for the birth process after her chiropractic experience. The gentle chiropractic techniques that I use in the office, including the popular Webster Technique and Activator Methods, assure each woman that she and her baby will be safe during each treatment.
The authors of the study concluded that chiropractic appears to be safe and effective for women during uncomplicated pregnancies, and I wholeheartedly agree.
Excerpts from the open access article are included below, with reference footnotes omitted:
Low back pain (LBP) during pregnancy is reported by approximately 50% to 80% of pregnant women. The structural, postural, or hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy, or any combination thereof, may lead to LBP during pregnancy. Treatment options include a range of therapies, such as exercise programs, massage therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic. Chiropractic care may include spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), mobilizations and soft tissue therapy, as well as exercise prescription. Previous studies and systematic reviews of the literature have indicated the relative safety and effectiveness of chiropractic treatment for LBP during pregnancy.
To date, no study has explored the treatment experience of the pregnant population seeking care for their back pain, whether that treatment is from a chiropractor or any other health care provider, nor has any study assessed the experience of chiropractors providing treatment for their pregnant patients with LBP. [snip]
All of the interviewed patients reported that they found chiropractic treatment to be effective and that it helped relieve them of their LBP and associated symptoms. Patients reported that chiropractic treatment had improved their daily living activities and their mobility, while it decreased their overall pain and discomfort:
PT01: “I can walk longer periods of time. So that's excellent. I can go standing for four to five hours. Because prior to that I'd be standing 40 minutes to do the dishes and I'd be in agony. Even the basic things, like picking things up off the floor, you'd get stuck in that position, I haven't experienced that yet [in this pregnancy]. Or just sitting for long periods of time, because I do work an office job from home, so I do sit long periods of time. I know for most people [they] have to get up and stretch for a couple minutes, even in doing that I‟ve been doing okay.”
PT02: “The pain is gone. but I do feel like I have more energy and I can do more activities. The pain doesn't prevent me anymore.”
PT05: “It really allowed me to function. I could barely walk before or stand, the pain was intense, but after I went to the chiropractor. I found I could function day to day, I could walk from the bus stop to work, I could do these things, so that was pretty significant. It's just helping me function. It's just teaching me how to pick up my daughter so I don't hurt myself. To still function, to still play with my daughter and be able to go to the grocery store and do all these things without really hurting myself. As well as it allows me to sleep at night.” [snip]
Pregnant patients present differently in terms of their LBP symptoms, its onset, location and duration. The chiropractor’s approach depended on the patient’s presentation, and most of them had a patient-centered approach: (DC03) “Some will respond differently than others and obviously not every pregnant patient with back pain has exactly the same issues as well. So, we obviously tailor those situations to patients.” [snip]
All of the patients directly stated in their interviews that they believed chiropractic treatment was safe and they had not experienced any adverse events after any treatment, which has been reported in previous studies: (PT07) “I wouldn't say I've ever had any side effects.” Patients also described their comfort levels changing with particular treatments throughout the pregnancy, while their chiropractors generally modified the treatments to make their patients feel safe and comfortable:
PT11: “I‟m always very aware of what he's doing to me and where the position of the baby is. I can't say I'm 100% comfortable, I know it works, and I've read quite a number of articles about it. I haven't experienced any problems, but it's always in the back of my mind [safety of my baby], especially in the very beginning, not so much right now, because I'm really big now and it has to be done differently. Now the reservations are there but they're very small, and I think that's the case with anything in pregnancy. You just want to make sure you're doing the right thing for your body and the baby.”
Unless otherwise attributed, all content is written by Kyle Johnson, DC, of Johnson Family Chiropractic of Peoria.
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If you have any questions regarding your condition, you should seek the help of Dr. Johnson in person, so that he may properly assess your condition.
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