Osteopathic manipulative treatment for low back and pelvic girdle pain during and after pregnancy: A systematic review and meta-analysis

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2017 Oct;21(4):752-762. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2017.05.014. Epub 2017 May 31.


Background: Low back pain (LBP) is a common complaint during pregnancy. This study examined the effectiveness of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) for LBP in pregnant or postpartum women.

Methods: Randomized controlled trials unrestricted by language were reviewed. Outcomes were pain and functional status. Mean difference (MD) or standard mean difference (SMD) and overall effect size were calculated.

Results: Of 102 studies, 5 examined OMT for LBP in pregnancy and 3 for postpartum LBP. Moderate-quality evidence suggested OMT had a significant medium-sized effect on decreasing pain (MD, -16.65) and increasing functional status (SMD, -0.50) in pregnant women with LBP. Low-quality evidence suggested OMT had a significant moderate-sized effect on decreasing pain (MD, -38.00) and increasing functional status (SMD, -2.12) in postpartum women with LBP.

Conclusions: This review suggests OMT produces clinically relevant benefits for pregnant or postpartum women with LBP. Further research may change estimates of effect, and larger, high-quality randomized controlled trials with robust comparison groups are recommended.

Keywords: Low back pain; Osteopathic manipulative treatment; Postpartum; Pregnancy; Spinal manipulation; Systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Manipulation, Osteopathic / methods*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pelvic Girdle Pain / therapy*
  • Postpartum Period*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic