Study Design. A randomized clinical trial.
Objectives. To examine the effects of a treatment program focusing on specific stabilizing exercises after a 2-year follow-up period.
Summary of Background Data. An individualized treatment approach with specific stabilizing exercises is shown to be effective for women with pelvic girdle pain 1 year after delivery. No previous study has examined the long-term effects of treatment for women with postpartum pelvic girdle pain. Methods. Eighty-one women with pelvic girdle pain postpartum were assigned randomly to 2
treatment groups for 20 weeks. Patient self-reported questionnaires measuring pain, disability, and health-related quality of life were collected after 20 weeks of treatment and 1 and 2 years postpartum.
Results. All 81 women returned the questionnaires for the 2-year follow-up. Sixteen were excluded from the analysis, mainly due to new pregnancies. The significant differences between the groups in functional status, pain, and physical health (SF-36) were maintained 2 years after delivery. Minimal disability was found in 85% of the specific stabilizing exercise group as compared to 47% in the control
group. The control group showed significant improvement in functional status with median change score of 6.0 (Q1–Q3 of 12–0). Minimal evening pain was reported by 68% in the specific stabilizing exercise group versus 23% in the control group. However, the group differences disappeared for all measures when controlling for score level 1 year after delivery by regression analysis.
Conclusion. The significant differences between the groups persisted with continued low levels of pain and disability in the specific stabilizing exercise group 2 years after delivery. Significant reduction in disability was found within the control group. Those with the highest level of disability and greatest potential for improvements recovered most, regardless of intervention group.
Key words: pelvic girdle pain, postpartum, randomized controlled trial, physical therapy, specific stabilizing exercises, effectiveness, follow-up