Various treatments are available for reducing LBP and PGP in the postpartum period, with exercise being the most important. However, there is room for improvement due to a long time until pain reduction is achieved and unsatisfactory results in a large proportion of women. It is assumed that adequate conformity of the SI joints can play a role in reducing mechanical stress on the ligaments and muscles around the joints.
Seventy-five women were recruited during pregnancy and, after giving birth, randomly allocated to three groups: 1) stabilisation exercises with a pelvic realignment device (ReaLine CORE, GLAB Co., Japan) (n=25); 2) stabilisation exercises alone (n=25), or; 3) a control group that did not receive any intervention (n=25).
Both exercise groups received a four-week intervention programme and were followed up for nine weeks. The intervention programme started the first day after delivery; subjects received instructions and exercised under supervision of a trained physiotherapist for four days until they were discharged at day five. After that, subjects continued performing the same exercises at home until week 4.
Outcome measures included pain intensity and limitations in activities of daily life using the pelvic girdle questionnaire (PGQ) and a Visual Analogue Scale – data was collected on days 1 to 5 and weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 9 and 13.
At week 13, the PGQ showed a reduction in pain in all 3 groups. Both exercise groups demonstrated a significant reduction in pain, but in the control group no significant decrease in pain was present. Between-group comparisons of PGQ demonstrated no differences between all three groups.
The VAS indicated reductions in pain in all 3 groups at week 13. However, only the pelvic realignment group had a significantly decreased VAS score. The pain reduction in the pelvic realignment group was greater than in the control group. There were no significant differences between the conventional exercise and control group and between the pelvic realignment and the conventional exercise group. Immediate effects during the 4-week intervention period after delivery were in favour of pelvic realignment group. However, there were no significant differences between groups.