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The Webster Technique: Results from a Chiropractic Practice-Based Research Program

Abstract

Background and Significance: A chiropractic therapeutic intervention for pregnant women to address the pathophysiology of subluxation and the consequential intrauterine constraint is the Webster Technique. Clinical experience among those trained and certified in the Webster Technique indicate that, in addition to relieving the discomforts of low back pain during pregnancy, the technique may be efficacious in relieving the causes of intra-uterine constraint and its consequences. To contribute to evidence-based practice in the care of the pregnant patient, we present the results of the Webster Technique from a practice-based research network.

Materials and Methods: This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of Life University, Atlanta, GA, USA. Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) belonging to a practice-based research network contributed data on their use of the Webster Technique in pregnant patients. Data of interest include geographical information, previous care and results of the Webster Technique in the outcome of pregnancy. All data were entered into a Word Document (Microsoft Word, Microsoft Corp) and exported to a spreadsheet (Excel, Microsoft Corp) and analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Results: A total of 81 abnormal presentation pregnancies were cared for by a total of 24 DCs. The average age of the patients was 32.4 years. The average number of pregnancies was 2.3 pregnancies per patient with an average parity of 1.6 per patient. Of the 81 cases, 36 were confirmed by palpation, 49 with ultrasound imaging and 10 by both aforementioned methods. Previous or concurrent care to address the abnormal presentation include external cephalic version (N= 7), slant board (N=12), Acupuncture (N=12), Moxabustion (N=11), Homeopathy (N=18) as well as crawling exercises (N=5), hip and pelvis movement (N=3) and handstands (N=1).

Of the 81 cases contributed, 63 were available for analysis at the time of this writing. The results are provided in Table 1 below. Overall, the Webster Technique is 69% effective with this preliminary data with the greatest changes observed in frank breech presentations.


Initial Presentation

Outcome During Birth

Vertex

Breech

Transverse

Posterior

INC*

Brow (N=1)

1





Complete Breech (N=12)

6

3

1


2

Footling Breech (N=7)

4

1



2

Facial (N=1)

1





Frank Breech (N=28)

19

6



3

Obligue (N=6)

2


1


3

Posterior (N=10)

6

1


2

1

Transverse (N=16)

6

1

2


7

Table 1. The outcome of Webster Technique at birth. (* incomplete data)


Discussion: There is a long tradition chiropractic on the care of the pregnant patient. The results of our study demonstrate some measure of effectiveness and safety of the Webster Technique in relieving the consequences of intrauterine constraint (i.e., malposition/malpresentation) in pregnancy. Higher level research designs are needed to make cause and effect inferences.

Conclusion: This presentation contributes to the knowledge base that pregnant patients may derive benefits from the Webster Technique. We advocate for continued research in this field.

Joel Alcantara, DC 1 and Jeanne Ohm, DC 2

  1. Research Director, International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, Media, PA and Private Practice of Chiropractic, San Jose, CA
  2. Private Practice of Chiropractic, Media, PA and Executive Director, International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, Media, PA

Presented at ECU Annual Convention, Brussels, May 2008.

Presented at ACNM Annual Meeting, Boston, May 2008.