Effect of three different physical therapy treatments on pain and activity in pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain: a randomized clinical trial with 3, 6, and 12 months follow-up postpartum

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2005 Apr 15;30(8):850-6. doi: 10.1097/01.brs.0000158870.68159.d9.


Study design: A randomized assessor-blinded clinical trial was conducted.

Objective: To compare 3 different physical therapy treatments with respect to pain and activity in women with pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy and 3, 6, and 12 months postpartum.

Summary of background data: In spite of the high prevalence of back pain during pregnancy, documented treatment programs are limited.

Methods: Based on a clinical examination, 118 women with pelvic girdle pain diagnosed during pregnancy were randomized into 3 different treatment groups: Information Group, use of a nonelastic sacroiliac belt and oral/written information about pelvic girdle pain (n = 40); Home Exercise Group, same as in the Information Group, with the addition of a home exercise program (n = 41); and the In Clinic Exercise Group, same as in the Information Group, plus participation in a training program (n = 37). Pain intensity was rated on a visual analogue scale (0-100 mm) and marked on a pain drawing concerning localization. The activity ability was scored using the Disability Rating Index, covering 12 daily activity items. Outcome measures were obtained at inclusion, on average in gestation week 38, and 3, 6, and 12 months postpartum.

Results: There was no significant difference among the 3 groups during pregnancy or at the follow-ups postpartum regarding pain and activity. In all groups, pain decreased and the activity ability increased between gestation week 38 and at 12 months postpartum.

Conclusions: Women with pelvic girdle pain seemed to improve with time in all 3 treatment groups. Neitherhome nor in clinic exercises had any additional value above giving a nonelastic sacroiliac belt and information.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Orthotic Devices
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Pelvic Pain / physiopathology
  • Pelvic Pain / therapy*
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome