Managing Back Pain in Pregnancy Using a Support Garment: A randomised trial
Objective: Large population studies have shown that low back pain affects about 50% of pregnant women. The aim of this study was to determine whether the use of the BellyBra® in pregnant women with back pain is associated with changes in assessments of pain severity, physical activity and satisfaction with life after 3 weeks of intervention compared with tubigrip, a more generic form of support.
Design: Randomised controlled trial.
Setting: A tertiary referral hospital in Australia.
Population: Women between 20 and 36 weeks of pregnancy with lumbar back or posterior pelvic pain.
Methods: Participants were randomised to the BellyBra® (the study device) or to tubigrip (the control) by means of computer-generated numbered, sealed, opaque envelopes.
Main outcome measures: The primary outcomes were pain severity and physical activity, and the secondary outcome was satisfaction with life.
Results: One hundred and fifteen women consented to participate in the trial. Mean visual analogue scale scores of pain severity decreased from 6.1 to 4.5 in the study device group (P= 0.001) and from 6.0 to 4.7 in the control group (P= 0.003). There was no significant difference between the groups in this outcome (P= 0.61). However, the study device group demonstrated a significantly greater reduction in Likert scale assessments of the impact of back pain on sleeping (P= 0.007), getting up from a sitting position (P= 0.02) and walking (P= 0.001) than the control group. There was also a significant reduction in the use of analgesic medication in the study group (P= 0.01).
Conclusion: The BellyBra® and tubigrip were both associated with a reduction in the severity of pregnancy-related low back pain. The BellyBra® was more effective than tubigrip, however, in alleviating the impact of pain on a number of physical activities that constitute daily life.
Kalu, S. M., Kornman, L. H., & Quinlivan, J. A. (2008). Managing back pain in pregnancy using a support garment: A randomised trial. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 115(1), 68-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2007.01538.x