Chiropractic treatment of pregnancy-related low back pain: a systematic review of the evidence

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. Jul-Aug 2008;31(6):447-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2008.06.009.


Objective: This study systematically reviewed the published evidence regarding chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, for pregnancy-related low back pain (LBP).

Methods: A multimodal search strategy was conducted, including multiple database searches along with reference and journal hand searching. Studies were limited to those published in English and in a peer-reviewed journal or conference proceeding between January 1982 and July 2007. All study designs were considered except single case reports, personal narratives, and qualitative designs. Retrieved articles that met the inclusion criteria were rated for quality by using a validated and reliable checklist.

Results: Six studies met the review's inclusion criteria in the form of 1 quasi-experimental single-group pretest-posttest design, 4 case series, and 1 cross-sectional case series study; their quality scores ranged from 5 to 14 of 27. All of the included studies reported positive results for chiropractic care of LBP during pregnancy. Outcome measure use between the studies was inconsistent as were descriptions of patients, treatments, and treatment schedules.

Conclusions: Results from the 6 included studies showed that chiropractic care is associated with improved outcomes in pregnancy-related LBP. However, the low-to-moderate quality of evidence of the included studies preclude any definitive statement as to the efficacy of such care because all studies lacked both randomization and control groups. Given the relatively common use of chiropractic care during pregnancy, there is need for higher quality observational studies and controlled trials to determine efficacy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / etiology
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Manipulation, Chiropractic*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*
  • Research Design