Back pain can become both more frequent and more intense as a pregnancy enters into the second and (especially) the third trimester. This is because the biomechanical changes that accompany pregnancy occur too fast for the body to properly adapt.
Besides the usual suggestions of bed rest, taking frequent breaks, using cold packs, and the like, there are many benefits derived from manual therapies such as manipulation, mobilization, massage, and exercise.
Chiropractors frequently offer these services, and one or a combination of these therapies can result in significant relief of back pain during pregnancy. One study reported that 94% of pregnant women receiving chiropractic treatment demonstrated clinically important improvement with substantial relief for several days following their initial treatment, with no adverse effects.
In a survey of 950 pregnant women and 87 medical providers, 31% responded that effective alternative therapies used during pregnancy included chiropractic care, massage, and yoga exercises. In a review of 400 pregnant female medical charts after delivery, 84% reported relief of back pain during the pregnancy with chiropractic care.
Studies have also shown that women with back pain during pregnancy have an elevated risk for a longer labor and delivery. Additionally, first-time pregnant women (primigravida) who received chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy averaged a 25% shorter labor time, while women who were pregnant after already having a child (multiparous) reported a 31% average shorter labor time.
Co-management and referrals between medical providers and chiropractors are becoming more common due to the growing amount of evidence published regarding the benefits of spinal manipulation during pregnancy.