If you are pregnant and suffering from low back pain, a neighbor or a friend has probably suggested you visit a chiropractor because a chiropractor was able to help them during their pregnancy. The discussion probably left you curious, is that good advice or just a single success story? Additionally, you may be wondering whether chiropractic is safe during pregnancy and how much low back pain improvement the average pregnant woman can expect to get.
After looking at several scientific publications on these exact topics, the appropriate conclusion seems to be that "chiropractic evaluation and treatment during pregnancy may be considered a safe and effective means of treating common musculoskeletal symptoms that affect pregnant patients. The scarcity of published literature warrants further research." (Borggren, 2007)
So basically the answers are:
- Yes, chiropractic is safe during pregnancy.
- Yes, chiropractic helps common musculoskelatal probelms during pregnancy (including back pain).
- Your friends experience isn't just one woman's story. Many women are finding relief and the results are being sporadically published in medical journals too.
- More research under more controlled conditions is needed for the purposes of educating primary care physicians and obstetricians about chiropractic care during pregnancy.
Here are a few additional details about the prevalence of low back pain during pregnancy and the number of women being referred for treatment.
- Between 57 - 69% of women complain of low back pain during pregnancy.
- Only about 32% of women report these symptoms to their primary doctor.
- Only about 25% of primary doctors recommend seeking treatment for the pain.
Clearly this is a big problem with 2 in 3 women having pregnancy-related back pain. Also a big problem is that they are generally not talking to their obstetricians and primary care physicians about it and that these professionals are not referring them to effective treatment options.
Chiropractic treatments can be quite effective for pregnancy-related back pain with just a few visits for the majority of women seeking help. In a small study of 17 women:
- Sixteen of 17 (94%) saw clinically important improvements in low back pain with chiropractic care.
- The average pain rating went down from 5.9 to 1.5 (on a scale of 0 to 10).
- It took an average of 1.8 visits and 4.5 days to get clinically important pain relief.
We hope this article gave you hope that many pregnant women do get significant, rapid relief from low back pain.