A randomized clinical trial.
To examine the effects of a treatment program focusing on specific stabilizing exercises after a 2-year follow-up period.
An individualized treatment approach with specific stabilizing exercises is shown to be effective for women with pelvic girdle pain 1 year after delivery. No previous study has examined the long-term effects of treatment for women with postpartum pelvic girdle pain.
Eighty-one women with pelvic girdle pain postpartum were assigned randomly to 2 treatment groups for 20 weeks. Patient self-reported questionnaires measuring pain, disability, and health-related quality of life were collected after 20 weeks of treatment and 1 and 2 years postpartum.
All 81 women returned the questionnaires for the 2-year follow-up. Sixteen were excluded from the analysis, mainly due to new pregnancies. The significant differences between the groups in functional status, pain, and physical health (SF-36) were maintained 2 years after delivery. Minimal disability was found in 85% of the specific stabilizing exercise group as compared to 47% in the control group. The control group showed significant improvement in functional status with median change score of 6.0 (Q1–Q3 of −12–0). Minimal evening pain was reported by 68% in the specific stabilizing exercise group versus 23% in the control group. However, the group differences disappeared for all measures when controlling for score level 1 year after delivery by regression analysis.
The significant differences between the groups persisted with continued low levels of pain and disability in the specific stabilizing exercise group 2 years after delivery. Significant reduction in disability was found within the control group. Those with the highest level of disability and greatest potential for improvements recovered most, regardless of intervention group.
The effects of specific stabilizing exercises for pelvic girdle pain were examined by self-reported questionnaires measuring pain, disability, and health-related quality of life over a 2-year follow-up period. Significant differences between the groups in functional status, pain, and SF-36 subscales of physical health were maintained 2 years after delivery.
From the Sections for *Health Science and †Medical Statistics, University of Oslo, Oslo, and ‡The Norwegian Back Pain Network, Oslo, Norway.
Supported by the Norwegian Foundation for Health and Rehabilitation.
Acknowledgment date: June 23, 2003. First revision date: September 18, 2003. Acceptance date: October 9, 2003.
The manuscript submitted does not contain information about medical device(s)/drug(s).
Foundation funds were received in support of this work. No benefits in any form have been or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this manuscript.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Britt Stuge, MSc, PT, University of Oslo, Section for Health Science, P.O. Box 1153, Blindern, Oslo N-0316, Norway; E-mail: britt.Stuge@medisin.uio.no