New study to test treatments for back pain in pregnancy

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Posted on 03 May 2013

Back pain in pregnancy affects many women and can interfere with everyday activities. A new study, called the EASE BACK study (Evaluating Acupuncture and Standard care for pregnant womEn with BACK pain), is testing treatment options for this problem, with the help of funding from the National Institute of Health Research.

Clinicians and researchers at Keele, Staffordshire and Birmingham Universities are working together to offer treatments to 180 pregnant women with back pain in the local area.

The EASE BACK study is suitable for women with back pain who are between 13 and 31 weeks pregnant, and who are planning on giving birth under the care of The University Hospital of North Staffordshire. The study is testing the effectiveness of advice and education, exercise and acupuncture.

Back pain during pregnancy is common and can affect daily activities, work and sleep. At the moment usual care for pregnant women with back pain typically involves advice about things that they can do to help ease their pain, for example, changes in posture and simple exercises to do at home. But acupuncture may be a treatment that could also help. It is already recommended in UK guidelines for treating back pain generally. Currently, some midwives and physiotherapists already use it to treat pregnant women with back pain. However, this area has not been researched and therefore it is not known if acupuncture is better than usual care for pregnant women.

In order to understand whether acupuncture can really help pregnant women with back pain, the research team would like to invite pregnant women with back pain to participate in this important study. One group of women will be selected randomly to receive ‘usual care’ and another group will receive ‘usual care plus acupuncture’ in what is called a ‘randomised trial’.   For more information about the EASE BACK study please contact Mel Holden on 01782 733921.

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