A review of previous studies on the effectiveness of chiropractic for pregnant women with lower back pain was published in the July 2008 edition of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT). This study looked at previously published works on this subject to review the body of evidence for the effectiveness of chiropractic care.
The JMPT report starts off by noting that between 50% and 80% of pregnant women suffer from low back pain (LBP) during their pregnancy. They noted that a review of previous work showed that from 68% to 85% of pregnant women with back pain during pregnancy do not look for any care for their lower back pain. The authors theorize that this is because most pregnant women consider back pain to be a normal part of the pregnancy.
In reviewing all the scientific literature on the subject of chiropractic for low back pain in pregnancy, the authors of the JMPT review narrowed their selection down to 6 studies that met their specific criteria. The results of the various studies showed a high percentage of pregnant women did get relief from their lower back pain through chiropractic.
In one reviewed study 84% of the 25 subjects reported relief of their lower back pain. In a larger study of 103 patients who received chiropractic care during their pregnancy, all of the women reported greater than 50% decrease in back pain on a questionnaire. In yet another case series where 120 pregnant women with LBP underwent an average of 15 chiropractic treatments, the results showed that 25% had complete remission of their back pain, 50% reported feeling very well, 15% were feeling better, and 10% noted no change in condition.
Interestingly, none of the studies reviewed for the JMPT report indicated any adverse effects or evidence of harm to either the pregnant woman or unborn child from the chiropractic care. The authors of the JMPT report noted that there was a need for more comprehensive studies involving control groups, but they did note that all studies they included reported positive results for the subject under chiropractic care. They noted in their conclusion, "Results from the 6 included studies showed that chiropractic care is associated with improved outcome in pregnancy-related LBP."