Earlier this week the BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (1.) released a report that found that acupuncture can help women* suffering from pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy. This is not the first research study to look at this. In fact, in 2005 I was interviewed by ABC news about the same topic. You can watch that clip here.
Up to 1 in 5 suffer from pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy. Usually, our patients complain of pain in the low back and buttocks although some patients also feel discomfort at the front of their pelvic area. Some also experience radiating pain down one or both of their legs. Most tell us that the pain gets worse if they have to stand for a long time.
The 2005 study was published in the British Medical Journal. It looked at a sample of 386 women* and split them into three groups. On group had standard medical treatment, one group had standard medical treatment with acupuncture, and another group had standard medical treatment and did exercise. Both acupuncture and exercise helped alleviate pain more than standard treatment but acupuncture came out on top, relieving pain more consistently throughout the day. You can read about this study here.
In a more recent study, the results were positive but less conclusive. The researchers looked at a smaller group of 115 women*. 58 women* were given acupuncture alongside standard medical care and 57 women* were given sham acupuncture combined with standard medical care. The pain was slightly reduced in both groups, with no significant difference between the two. But the women* who had true acupuncture were “more able to take part in routine activities which they could not before treatment began”. They were also more able to continue work. You can read more about that study here.
Here at The Yinova Center, we treat many patients for aches and pains during pregnancy. We find that the combination of acupuncture and light stretching exercises is really helpful. If you are in pain you should always tell your OB, but feel free to call us and come in. Acupuncture is a safe, natural, gentle way of handling this debilitating condition.
1. Elden, H. et al. Acupuncture as an adjunct to standard treatment for pelvic girdle pain in pregnant women: randomized double-blinded controlled trial comparing acupuncture with non-penetrating sham acupuncture. BJOG 2008.
* Language used in the studies referenced