EXERCISE, ACUPUNCTURE HELP WOMEN REDUCE PREGNANCY PAIN
Stretching exercises and acupuncture can help relieve back and pelvic pain that often occur during pregnancy. A Cochrane review looked at eight studies that examined the effect of adding pregnancy-specific strengthening exercises, acupuncture and other pain-relief interventions to regular prenatal care. More than two-thirds of pregnant women experience back pain and almost one-fifth report pelvic pain. As pregnancy progresses, pain can interfere with daily activities.
Women who participated in a variety of intervention programs recognized some relief of back and pelvic pain, said Victoria Pennick, M.H.Sc., registered nurse and lead review author. “When you’re pregnant, your center of gravity is off. You have to arch your back to balance this huge tummy, so you end up with extra strain on your back and pelvic muscles,” said Pennick. The review involved 1,305 pregnant women from Sweden, Iran, Brazil, Thailand, and Australia. The review appears in the current issue of The Cochrane Library. Those women who participated in prenatal exercise programs and received acupuncture reported significant decreases in pregnancy-related pain compared to women who received the usual prenatal care.
The exercise intervention programs taught moms-to-be movements to stretch the pelvic muscles, strengthen the abdominal and hamstring muscles and increase spinal flexibility. In one study of women with both back and pelvic pain, 60 percent who received acupuncture reported less intense pain, compared to 14 percent of women who did not. The study found no complications with the use of acupuncture in pregnant women. On average, women who followed through with the pelvic or back pain interventions experienced some pain relief and reported less need for pain medication, physical therapy and posture-support belts.
Acupuncture represents an effective alternative for the treatment of pregnancy-related pain. Pregnant women should be avoiding medications. Acupuncture, which releases the body’s natural painkillers, can treat pain during pregnancy. Acupuncture can also ease women through labor, birth and the immediate postpartum period. For more information about acupuncture for the treatment of pain occurring during pregnancy contact Dr. Richard Browne at (305) 595-9500.