Osteopathic manipulative treatment of back pain and related symptoms during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial

Published:September 23, 2009DOI:


      To study osteopathic manipulative treatment of back pain and related symptoms during the third trimester of pregnancy.

      Study Design

      A randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to compare usual obstetric care and osteopathic manipulative treatment, usual obstetric care and sham ultrasound treatment, and usual obstetric care only. Outcomes included average pain levels and the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire to assess back-specific functioning.


      Intention-to-treat analyses included 144 subjects. The Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire scores worsened during pregnancy; however, back-specific functioning deteriorated significantly less in the usual obstetric care and osteopathic manipulative treatment group (effect size, 0.72; 95% confidence interval, 0.31–1.14; P = .001 vs usual obstetric care only; and effect size, 0.35; 95% confidence interval, –0.06 to 0.76; P = .09 vs usual obstetric care and sham ultrasound treatment). During pregnancy, back pain decreased in the usual obstetric care and osteopathic manipulative treatment group, remained unchanged in the usual obstetric care and sham ultrasound treatment group, and increased in the usual obstetric care only group, although no between-group difference achieved statistical significance.


      Osteopathic manipulative treatment slows or halts the deterioration of back-specific functioning during the third trimester of pregnancy.

      Key words

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