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Date of Award

Spring 5-23-2009

Degree Type

Capstone Project (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)

First Advisor

Nancy Cicirello PT, MPH, EdD


The results of these studies collectively suggest that the use of stabilizing exercises is an effective treatment for pain reduction and an increase in function for pregnancy-related pelvic pain. The majority of the studies emphasized stabilizing exercises as a component of physical therapy care including: education on origins of pelvic girdle pain (PGP), anatomy of the back and pelvic, coping strategies, ergonomic modifications, a clear understanding of load capacity, stretches, massage, muscle energy technique (MET), joint mobilization, and any other co-intervention deemed appropriate based on a patients’ physical exam findings and self reports. Since such a variety of other treatment techniques were incorporated, it is difficult to be confident that specific stabilizing exercises (SSE) were the sole cause of the outcomes. More studies of higher methodological quality need to compare SSE and standard treatment to standard treatment alone and have a consistent treatment time and exercise protocol. Use of a personal log or diary to increase compliance, maintaining supervised visits, and encouraging patient’s self-management is also recommended.

While we feel confident that stabilizing exercises are an effective treatment for pregnancy-related pain, the co- interventions used in these studies were varied. Future research that could demonstrate which co-interventions were most likely indicated for the various stages of gestation would be beneficial.


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