Pelvic girdle pain is a common complaint among pregnant women worldwide, but no cure exists. The study was a randomised single blind trial done at East Hospital, Sahlgrenska Academy, and at 27 maternity care centres in the hospital's reference area in Gothenburg, Sweden, from 2000 to 2002.
The Swedish researchers identified 386 pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain. Women were randomly divided into three groups; one received standard treatment including a pelvic belt and a home exercise programme. Another group received standard treatment plus acupuncture, and the third received standard treatment plus stabilising exercises to improve mobility and strength.
Pain levels were recorded every morning and evening using a recognised scale and all women were assessed by an independent examiner at the end of the treatment period.
The results after treatment were the following: the stabilising exercise group had less pain than the standard group in the morning and in the evening. The acupuncture group, in turn, had less pain in the evening than the stabilising exercise group.Furthermore, the acupuncture group had less pain than the standard treatment group in the morning. Attenuation of pelvic girdle pain as assessed by the independent examiner was greatest in the acupuncture group.
Acupuncture or stabilising exercises as an adjunct to standard treatment offers clear clinical advantages over standard treatment alone for reduction of pain in pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain, say the authors.
Acupuncture was superior to stabilising exercises in this study, the scientists concluded.
MEDICA.de; Source: British Medical Journal (BMJ)