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Does Physical Therapy Help Pregnant Women with Lumbopelvic Pain?

Spring time has passed, but marriage is certainly all around s. Chris Barber, personal trainer at COR, was married in June of 2014 and I am getting married in August of 2014. We are not alone, as many marriages occur in the summer. After marriage, I’m awaiting the never ending questioning of when my soon to be wife and myself will have a baby. Now, before my wife or any other woman decides to have a baby, low back pain and lumbopelvic pain is something to understand. Pregnancy results in lumbopelvic pain for ~20% of expecting mothers. Unlike other injuries, the mechanism of injury is pretty clear, carrying around extra weight in the front of a person adds stress to the low back. This is why women are commonly holding and grabbing their back with their little bundle of joy on the way!

This increase in low back pain incidence results in many patients seeking physical therapy treatment for lumbopelvic pain during pregnancy. Now, physical therapy treatment various greatly from clinic to clinic, but overall does physical therapy for lumbopelvic pain pain help?

Luckily, a systematic research review was performed on this very topic (van Benten 2014). This review analyzed the quality of all previous physical therapy treatments on lumbopelvic pain during pregnancy. Overall, this team of researchers reviewed over 1,000 articles! Systematic reviews are the highest level of evidence, as statistics on various studies greatly increases the amount of study participants.

Does Physical Therapy Help?

Overall, there was moderate evidence for exercise therapy to reduce pain intensity, disability, and sick leave from lumbopelvic pain during pregnancy. Limited research had focused on the use of manual therapy for the treatment of lumbopelvic pain during pregnancy. However, the existing research is positive.

 Also, patient education is a helpful intervention for lumbopelvic pain.

If you are considering having a baby, understand the risk of having lumbopelvic pain. If you do have lumbopelvic pain, see a physical therapy for effective manual therapy and exercise therapy. At COR, we individualize all our treatment goals and work on reducing pain on the first treatment!

For more on lumbopelvic pain during pregnancy, see this patient perspective!


      van Benten E, Pool J, Mens J, Pool-Goudzwaard A.

Recommendations for physical therapists on the treatment of lumbopelvic pain duringpregnancy: a systematic review. 

Written by Dr. G. John Mullen, DPT, CSCS