By Ali Longridge PhD MScAc MBAcC 

 Acupuncturist specialising in Pregnancy

“I love treating pelvic pain during pregnancy, also known as symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD)”, writes Ali Longridge. “It can be like magic! Patients can arrive in pain and leave without it. Walk down the steps, climb into their car, walk down the street, and up the stairs…all with no pain! We pregnancy acupuncturists are so excited to get to treat pelvic pain, I was not surprised to learn it is a favourite with our Australian and New Zealand colleagues too (1). Much of what I do with my lovely little pins takes months and months, so it is sheer joy to ease intense, crippling pain in a matter of weeks. I’d like to say it doesn’t go to my head…but how can you not be ecstatically happy and a little bit proud of yourself when your treatment has taken away pain destined to shadow an otherwise lovely pregnancy?”

 

It is one of those conditions we often see in waves, as word-of-mouth from one pregnant mummy no longer hobbling about travels to another like lightening! And for good reasons. A review of treatments for low back and pelvic pain during pregnancy by the very respected Cochrane Collaboration found acupuncture to be effective, although evidence from larger studies is needed to be certain (2). And another review in a top obstetrics journal was firmly in favour of acupuncture (3). This is good news, especially when we consider how safe acupuncture is, even in pregnancy (4,5).

 

Evidence from single studies suggests that acupuncture or craniosacral therapy improves pregnancy-related pelvic pain, and osteo-manipulative therapy or a multi-modal intervention (manual therapy, exercise and education) may also be of benefit. Liddle and Pennick 2015.

 

“I tend to work together with our osteopath Terri Willmot”, Ali continues. “We find that alternating treatments brings about faster, longer lasting results. I will often see someone for two to three sessions with a focus on reducing inflammation and pain and improving the strength and elasticity of tissues, before referring to Terri, who is skilled at gently directing an incredibly dynamic and rapidly growing pregnant body towards a place of skeletal alignment and balance.”

 

Both Ali and Terri work at the York Clinic in York. If you’d like to find out more about pregnancy acupuncture or osteopathy, please do contact Ali Longridge (ali.longridge@icloud.com) and Terri Willmott (terriwillmott@hotmail.co.uk) via their confidential email addresses.   Alternatively to book an appointment with Ali, please contact the York Clinic on 01904 709688 or email York Clinic at email@yorkclinic.com .

 

 

References

  1. Smith C, Armour M, Betts D. Treatment of women’s reproductive health conditions by Australian and New Zealand acupuncturists. Complement There Med. 2014 Aug 22(4):710-8.
  2. Liddle SD, Pennick V. Interventions for treating low back and pelvic pain during pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews September 2015.
  3. Gutke A, et al. Treatments for pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain: a systematic review of physiotherapy modalities. Act Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2015
  4. Bishop A, Ogollah R, Bartlam B et al. Evaluating acupuncture and standard care for pregnant women with back pain: the EASE Back pilot randomised controlled trial. Pilot Feasibility Study 2016 Dec 12;2:72.eCollection 2016
  5. Park J, Sohn Y et al. The safety of acupuncture during pregnancy: systematic review. Acupunct Med 2014 Jun; 32(3): 257–266.