Research: ELDEN and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 114


ELDEN and colleagues, Perinatal Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Institute for the Health of Women and Children, Sahlgrenska Academy, East Hospital, 41685 Gothenburg, Sweden,, have conducted a trial of acupuncture and stabilizing exercises in pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain.


The aim of the study was to compare the efficacy of standard treatment, standard treatment plus acupuncture, and standard treatment plus stabilizing exercises for pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy.


In this randomized single-blinded controlled study, 386 pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain were treated for 6 weeks with either standard care (130 women), standard care plus acupuncture (125 women), or standard care plus stabilizing exercises (131 women). Pain as measured on a VAS was the primary outcome measure. A secondary outcome measure was the assessment of the pelvic girdle pain by an independent examiner pre and post treatment.


After treatment, the stabilizing exercise group had less pain than the control group both morning and evening (p = 0.01). The acupuncture group had less pain in the evening than the exercise group (p = 0.01), and less pain than the control group both morning and evening (p < 0.001). Improvements were on the order of 10 to 25%. According to the independent examiner, improvements were best in the acupuncture group.


Both acupuncture and stabilizing exercises constitute efficient adjuncts to standard treatment for the management of pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy. Acupuncture was superior to stabilizing exercises in this study.


Elden H, Ladfors L, Olsen MF, Ostgaard HC, Hagberg H. Effects of acupuncture and stabilising exercises as adjunct to standard treatment in pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain: randomised single blind controlled trial. BMJ 330 (7494): 761, Apr 2, 2005.

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