LUHS study explores ways to effectively treat pregnancy-related pelvic pain
Published on August 13, 2014 at 8:51 PM
Aches and pains are common during pregnancy, yet many women dismiss them as a normal part of carrying a baby.
An estimated 45 percent of pregnant women experience sciatica or pelvic girdle pain. The pelvic girdle is made up of several bones and joints in the pelvis, which affect a woman's ability to stand, walk or sit. Pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy can lead to significant disability, including postpartum chronic pelvic pain, depression and an adverse effect on future child-bearing decisions.
Pelvic pain relief during pregnancy may prevent long-term disability in the postpartum period. Current treatment for this form of pain is physical therapy with stabilizing exercises, but not all women respond to this type of rehabilitation.
Researchers at Loyola University Health System (LUHS) have a study under way to determine if an injectable anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy can more effectively treat pregnancy-related pelvic pain than physical therapy alone. They are looking for English-speaking pregnant women between the ages of 21 and 50 who develop certain forms of pelvic girdle pain in their second trimester and who are not currently receiving treatment.
Study participants will be required to undergo tests to assess the pain. Patients enrolled in the study also will receive an ultrasound-guided shot of either medication or a saline solution followed by physical therapy once a week for four weeks. Physical therapy will include movement coping strategies, body awareness techniques, ergonomic advice, muscle energy techniques for pelvic alignment, core stabilizing exercises and individualized motor control strategies. Pain will be assessed in study participants at seven days, four weeks, eight weeks and one year after the injection.
"No study has been done until now to investigate the effect of anti-inflammatory treatment on women who suffer from debilitating pelvic girdle pain, despite its prevalence," said Colleen Fitzgerald, MD, MS, lead investigator and medical director, Chronic Pelvic Pain Program, LUHS. "Our intent is to address this gap in care and support the National Institutes of Health's efforts to encourage research on safe and effective interventions for conditions affecting pregnant women."
Loyola University Health System