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Back pain in relation to pregnancy: A longitudinal 10-year follow-up of 369 women diagnosed with pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy

Paper i proceeding
Författare Helen Elden
Annelie Gutke
Gunilla Kjellby-Wendt
Monika Fagevik Olsén
Nenad Stankovic
Hans-Christian Östgaard
Publicerad i Advances in multidisciplinary research for better spinal/pelvic care. The 8th Interdiciplinary World Congress on Low Back & Pelvic Pain, Oct, 2013. Dubai.
ISBN 978-90-816016-0-3
Publiceringsår 2013
Publicerad vid Institutionen för kliniska vetenskaper, Avdelningen för kirurgi
Institutionen för neurovetenskap och fysiologi
Institutionen för vårdvetenskap och hälsa
Institutionen för kliniska vetenskaper, Avdelningen för obstetrik och gynekologi
Institutionen för kliniska vetenskaper, Avdelningen för ortopedi
Språk en
Ämnesord Pregnancy-related, pelvic girdle pain, low back pain, course, predictors, recovery, persistent
Ämneskategorier Annan medicin och hälsovetenskap, Hälsovetenskaper


Introduction PGP have been associated with muscular dysfunction, maternal factors, and pre-pregnancy low back pain, LBP, and/or pelvic girdle pain, PGP. It has also been stated that the pain and functional disturbances in relation to PGP must be reproducible by specific clinical tests. However, physical examinations have not been performed in long-time follow-ups of women with well-defined PGP during pregnancy and knowledge of potential predictors for long-standing LBP/PGP in these women is limited. Aim To describe the long-term development of back pain in women with well-defined PGP during pregnancy and, to identify potential predictors for persistent PGP and/or LBP in a long time perspective. Materials and Methods Women with well-defined PGP according to mechanical assessment of the, lumbar spine, pelvic pain provocation tests, standard history, pain drawings and European Guidelines who completed one of three treatment studies in 2000-2002, 2006-2007 or 2009-2011 answered a questionnaire. Women reporting pain from the pelvic girdle and/or lower back were physically examined. Results Of 534 eligible women, 380 (71%) answered the questionnaire. Data from 37 (9.7%) women were excluded from analysis due to pregnancy (n=15), systemic disease (n=11), participated in two of the studies (=n5) and declined examination (n=6). Forty-five women/343 (13%) had verified back pain. Of these women, 12/343 (3.5%) had LBP; 15/343 (4.4%) had PGP and 18/343 (5.2%) had combined back- and pelvic girdle pain. During pregnancy, predictors for persisting back pain were: Having a back pain history before pregnancy (p=0.0194), high pain intensity in the morning (Visual Analogue Scale, p=0.0097), impaired function (Oswestery Disability Index p=0.0127), low health related quality of life (Euro-qol, p=0.0097), use of an elastic pelvic belt (p=0.031), difficulty to turn over in bed (p=0.001) and early debut of PGP in pregnancy (p=0.029). Relevance of the number of positive pain provocation tests during pregnancy and at follow-up will also be presented. Relevance PGP can be physically compromising during pregnancy and cause anxiousness concerning childcare after delivery and later return to work and future work planning. It is therefore important to present a reliable prognosis to these women as early as possible, preferably during pregnancy. Discussion Considering the long follow up (10 years), the dropout-ratio in this study was acceptable and the results presented were in line with earlier publications about persistent LBP and PGP in a shorter perspective. Furthermore, the women were physically examined by skilled physiotherapists to confirm the diagnoses PGP and LBP in accordance with the European Guidelines. This increases the reliability of our findings, and we therefore believe that general conclusions can be drawn. A well founded prognosis for the later development of PGP and LBP found during pregnancy thus can be presented to the pregnant women covering the time from delivery up to a decade later. Conclusion: Most women (88%) with well-defined PGP during pregnancy recovered. The long time results confirm earlier short time findings that a back pain history before pregnancy, server PGP during pregnancy and early debut of PGP in pregnancy are risk factors for persisting pain several years postpartum. Implications Identification of women at risk for longstanding back pain seems possible in early pregnancy using physical examination and self-reports.

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