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Osteopathic Manipulation Aids Back Function in Pregnancy

However, study finds accompanying pain relief is not significant

THURSDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Adding osteopathic manipulation to the standard care for pregnant women can improve low back functioning late in pregnancy but does not seem to have a significant effect on low back pain, according to a study in the January issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

John C. Licciardone, D.O., of the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, and colleagues randomized 144 pregnant women to three groups receiving either usual obstetric care and osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT), usual obstetric care and sham ultrasound treatment, or usual obstetric care only. The researchers monitored pain on a zero to 10 scale and back functioning using the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire.

During pregnancy, the researchers found that low back functioning declined significantly less in the group receiving usual obstetric care and OMT compared to the groups receiving usual obstetric care and usual obstetric care plus sham ultrasound treatment (effect sizes, 0.72 and 0.35, respectively). Meanwhile, pain decreased somewhat in the usual obstetric care and OMT group, was unchanged in the usual obstetric care and sham ultrasound treatment group, and increased in the usual obstetric care-only group; however, the group pain differences were not judged to be statistically significant.

"The results of our exploratory trial indicate that a larger Phase III trial with greater statistical power and better control of potential confounders is warranted to better assess the effects of OMT on back pain and related physical functioning during the third trimester of pregnancy," the authors conclude.

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