Background: Pregnancy-related low back and/or pelvic girdle pain is common, with a prevalence rate of up to 86% in pregnant women. Although 19.5% of Australian pregnant women visit a chiropractor for pelvic girdle pain, little is known about the experience of pregnant women who seek this care. The aim of this study was to describe and explore the experiences of Australian pregnant women who seek chiropractic care for their current pregnancy-related low back and/or pelvic girdle pain.
Methods: A qualitative case study approach with purposive sampling from 27 chiropractic practices was used. A grounded theory approach was informed by a constructivist and interpretivist stance, which provided understanding and meaning to the pregnant women’s experiences. Online unstructured interviews were recorded, transcribed, and anonymised. A thematic analysis was subsequently conducted on the primary data. Codes and major themes were developed with the use of critical self- reflection (memos), survey finding triangulation and respondent validation.
Results: Sixteen potential respondents expressed interest in participating. After eligibility screening and data saturation, nine interviews were undertaken. Four key themes were identified: “Care drivers: what drives care seeking?”, “Care barriers: what barriers are encountered?”, “Chiropractic treatment: what does treatment consist of?” and “Response to care: what response was there to care?”.
Conclusion: Four key themes: care drivers, care barriers, chiropractic treatment, and response to care support an emergent substantive-level theory in women’s care seeking experiences for pregnancy-related back pain and chiropractic care. This theory is that chiropractic care for pregnant women experiencing low back pain and pelvic girdle pain may improve pain and function, while reducing pregnancy-related biopsychosocial concerns. The findings may inform antenatal health providers and the chiropractic profession about pregnant women’s experience seeking chiropractic care as well as directing future research.
Author keywords: Chiropractic - Pregnancy - Low back pain - Pelvic girdle pain - Qualitative case study - Spinal manipulation
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