Background: Low back pain in pregnancy is common and research evidence on the response to
chiropractic treatment is limited. The purposes of this study are 1) to report outcomes in
pregnant patients receiving chiropractic treatment; 2) to compare outcomes from subgroups;
3) to assess predictors of outcome.
Methods: Pregnant patients with low back or pelvic pain, no contraindications to manipulative therapy and no manual therapy in the prior 3 months were recruited. Baseline numerical rating scale (NRS) and Oswestry questionnaire data were collected. Duration of complaint, number of previous LBP episodes, LBP during a previous pregnancy, and category of pain location were recorded. The patient’s global impression of change (PGIC) (primary outcome), NRS, and Oswestry data (secondary outcomes) were collected at 1 week, 1 and 3 months after the first treatment. At 6 months and 1 year the PGIC and NRS scores were collected. PGIC responses of ‘better or ‘much better’ were categorized as ‘improved’. The proportion of patients ‘improved’ at each time point was calculated. Chi-squared test compared subgroups with ‘improvement’. Baseline and follow-up NRS and Oswestry scores were compared using the paired t-test. The unpaired t-test compared NRS and Oswestry scores in patients with and without a history of LBP and with and without LBP during a
previous pregnancy. Anova compared baseline and follow-up NRS and Oswestry scores by
pain location category and category of number of previous LBP episodes. Logistic regression
analysis also was also performed.
Results: 52% of 115 recruited patients ‘improved’ at 1 week, 70% at 1 month, 85% at 3 months, 90% at 6 months and 88% at 1 year. There were significant reductions in NRS and Oswestry
scores (p < 0.0005). Category of previous LBP episodes number at one year (p = 0.02) was
related to ‚improvement’ when analyzed alone, but was not strongly predictive in logistic
regression. Patients with more prior LBP episodes had higher 1 year NRS scores (p = 0.013).
Conclusions: Most pregnant patients undergoing chiropractic treatment reported clinically relevant
improvement at all time points. No single variable was strongly predictive of‚ improvement‘
in the logistic regression model.
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