Berkhamsted acupuncture research update: Acupuncture and Pregnancy related back & pelvic pain

August 14, 2013 · by Sean Heneghan · Acupuncture, Research

Pelvic pain and back pain are common in pregnancy with two thirds of women experiencing low back pain, and almost 20% of pregnant women experiencing pelvic pain. During the advancing stages of pregnancy pain can severely impact sleep, mood, and quality of life.

The esteemed Cochrane Collaboration have conducted a review of trials to assess the effects of interventions for preventing and treating pelvic and back pain in pregnancy. This review included 26 randomised trials comprising results from 4093 pregnant women.

The researchers note that for pelvic pain there was moderate-quality evidence that acupuncture significantly reduced evening pain better than exercise; both were better than usual care and acupuncture was significantly better than sham acupuncture for improving evening pain and function, but not average pain. Evening pain relief was the same following either deep or superficial acupuncture. Acupuncture improved pain and function more than usual care or physiotherapy and pain and function improved more when acupuncture was started at 26- rather than 20- weeks’ gestation. Ear acupuncture significantly improved these outcomes more than sham acupuncture.

Overall the authors concluded that moderate-quality evidence suggested that acupuncture or exercise, tailored to the stage of pregnancy, significantly reduced evening pelvic pain or lumbo-pelvic pain more than usual care alone. Acupuncture was significantly more effective than exercise for reducing evening pelvic pain.

Acupuncture was more effective than physiotherapy at relieving evening lumbo-pelvic pain and disability and improving pain and function when it was started at 26- rather than 20-weeks’ gestation, although the effects were small.There was no significant difference in evening pelvic pain between deep and superficial acupuncture.

For full details of the trial, click here:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23904227

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