Research: WEDENBURG, MOEN and NO

Listed in Issue 56


WEDENBURG, MOEN and NORLING, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vrinnevi Hospital, Norrkoping, Sweden conducted a clinical trial comparing the use of acupuncture with physiotherapy for low-back and pelvic pain in pregnancy.


The aim of this study was to describe the effects of acupuncture in the treatment of low-back and pelvic pain during pregnancy and compare it with physiotherapy.


Sixty pregnant women were treated with either acupuncture or physiotherapy. The women estimated the severity of their pain using a visual analogue scale (VAS) from 0 to 10 and disability in performing 12 common daily activities using a disability-rating index (DRI) from 0 to 10.


In the acupuncture group, all 30 women completed the study (two exclusions), in the physiotherapy group only 18. Before treatment, the two treatment groups were comparable with respect to pain and disability. After treatment the mean morning VAS had declined from 3.4 to 0.9 (p<0.01) in the acupuncture group and from 3.7 to 2.3 (NS) in the physiotherapy group. The corresponding evening values had declined from 7.4 to 1.7 (p<0.01) and 6.6 to 4.5 (p<0.01), respectively. The mean VAS values were lower after acupuncture than after physiotherapy both in the morning (p=0.02) and in the evening (p<0.01). After treatment the mean DRI values had decreased significantly in the acupuncture group for 11 of 12 activities and the values were significantly lower for all activities than in the physiotherapy group where no significant changes had taken place. Overall satisfaction was good in both groups. There were no serious adverse events in any of the patients.


Acupuncture relieved pain and diminished disability in low-back pain during pregnancy better than physiotherapy.


Wedenberg K et al. A prospective randomized study comparing acupuncture with physiotherapy for low-back and pelvic pain in pregnancy. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 79(5): 331-5. May 2000.


This study suggests that acupuncture is a valid alternative, if not better than physiotherapy for pregnancy-related back problems.

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