Pelvic girdle pain is a common complaint among pregnant women worldwide, but no cure exists.
Researchers in Sweden identified 386 pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain. Women were randomly divided into three groups; one received standard treatment (a pelvic belt and a home exercise programme), another 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.
After treatment, both the acupuncture group and the stabilising exercise group had less pain than the standard group in the morning and in the evening. Reduction 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, they conclude.