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Open Access Research

The treatment experience of patients with low back pain during pregnancy and their chiropractors: a qualitative study

Shabnam Sadr, Neda Pourkiani-Allah-Abad and Kent Jason Stuber*

Author Affiliations

Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, 6100 Leslie Street, Toronto, Ontario M2H 3J1, Canada

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Chiropractic & Manual Therapies 2012, 20:32  doi:10.1186/2045-709X-20-32

Published: 9 October 2012

Abstract

Background

Chiropractors regularly treat pregnant patients for low back pain during their pregnancy. An increasing amount of literature on this topic supports this form of treatment; however the experience of the pregnant patient with low back pain and their chiropractor has not yet been explored. The objective of this study is to explore the experience of chiropractic treatment for pregnant women with low back pain, and their chiropractors.

Methods

This qualitative study employed semi-structured interviews of pregnant patients in their second or third trimester, with low back pain during their pregnancy, and their treating chiropractors in separate interviews. Participants consisted of 11 patients and 12 chiropractors. The interviews consisted of 10 open-ended questions for patients, and eight open-ended questions for chiropractors, asking about their treatment experience or impressions of treating pregnant patients with LBP, respectively. All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and reviewed independently by the investigators to develop codes, super-codes and themes. Thematic saturation was reached after the eleventh chiropractor and ninth patient interviews. All interviews were analyzed using the qualitative analysis software N-Vivo 9.

Results

Five themes emerged out of the chiropractor and patient interviews. The themes consisted of Treatment and Effectiveness; Chiropractor-Patient Communication; Pregnant Patient Presentation and the Chiropractic Approach to Pregnancy Care; Safety Considerations; and Self-Care.

Conclusions

Chiropractors approach pregnant patients with low back pain from a patient-centered standpoint, and the pregnant patients interviewed in this study who sought chiropractic care appeared to find this approach helpful for managing their back pain symptoms.

Keywords:
Pregnancy; Chiropractic; Qualitative; Exercise; Spinal manipulative therapy; Nutrition; Adverse effects