On April 18, 2019, the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal & Family Health published a case study showing chiropractic helping a pregnant woman who was suffering with pelvic pain. Pelvic pain is not uncommon in pregnant women, with many women seeking chiropractic care for help.
The study begins by noting that, as the uterus grows during pregnancy, there is a change in the biomechanics and positioning of a pregnant woman’s pelvis. In addition to this, changes in hormones along with fluid retention can contribute added stress to the pelvis resulting in pain and discomfort.
Many women avoid typical medical care for this type of problem due to fears that medication could negatively affect the developing fetus. For this reason, many pregnant women suffering with pelvic pain seek non-medical forms of care. The most common non-medical care pregnant women utilize for these issues is chiropractic.
The study reports that between 3% and 8% of women who suffer pregnancy related pelvic pain have a specific form of pain known as pubic symphysis dysfunction. Pubic symphysis dysfunction is when the front bones of the pelvis, known as the pubic symphysis, experience excessive movement with possible misalignment and creates pain. According to this study, during pregnancy, this pain can be debilitating and can result in significant physical, psychological, and socioeconomic consequences.
In this case, a 28-year-old woman in her 20th week of pregnancy presented herself for chiropractic care for the first time. This was her second pregnancy and she was now suffering from painful symphysis pubic dysfunction for the past three weeks. She characterized the pain as aching, dull, stabbing and sharp, that she reported was progressively getting worse. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst, the woman rated her pain at 5-7 noting that it was present about 60% of the time. Her past history showed that she had suffered a fall during her previous pregnancy which also initiated pubic symphysis pain to a much lesser degree than her current pain.
A chiropractic examination was performed and it was determined that subluxations were present. Specific chiropractic adjustments, appropriate for pregnancy, were started. The study recorded that after three chiropractic adjustments, the woman’s pain had completely resolved and she once again had full mobility. After the third chiropractic adjustment, the woman continued care and did not experience any additional symphysis pubic dysfunction during the rest of her pregnancy. She went on to deliver a healthy baby boy. After her pregnancy, the woman also reported that she had greater comfort while walking.
In their conclusion, the authors of the study stated, “This case report provides supporting evidence on the benefits of chiropractic care for the pregnant woman with pelvic bowl dysfunction.”