Manual Therapies for Primary Chronic Headaches: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials
SOURCE: J Headache Pain. 2014 (Oct 2); 15: 67 ~ FULL TEXT
Aleksander Chaibi and Michael Bjørn Russell
Head and Neck Research Group,
Research Centre, Akershus University Hospital,
1478 Lørenskog, Oslo, Norway.
This is to our knowledge the first systematic review regarding the efficacy of manual therapy randomized clinical trials (RCT) for primary chronic headaches. A comprehensive English literature search on CINHAL, Cochrane, Medline, Ovid and PubMed identified 6 RCTs all investigating chronic tension-type headache (CTTH). One study applied massage therapy and five studies applied physiotherapy. Four studies were considered to be of good methodological quality by the PEDro scale. All studies were pragmatic or used no treatment as a control group, and only two studies avoided co-intervention, which may lead to possible bias and makes interpretation of the results more difficult. The RCTs suggest that massage and physiotherapy are effective treatment options in the management of chronic tension-type headache (CTTH).
One of the RCTs showed that physiotherapy reduced headache frequency and intensity statistical significant better than usual care by the general practitioner. The efficacy of physiotherapy at post-treatment and at 6 months follow-up equals the efficacy of tricyclic antidepressants. Effect size of physiotherapy was up to 0.62. Future manual therapy RCTs are requested addressing the efficacy in chronic migraine with and without medication overuse. Future RCTs on headache should adhere to the International Headache Society’s guidelines for clinical trials, i.e., frequency as primary end-point, while duration and intensity should be secondary end-point, avoid co-intervention, includes sufficient sample size and follow-up period for at least 6 months.
KEYWORDS: Randomized clinical trials, Primary chronic headache, Manual therapies, Massage, Physiotherapy, Chiropractic
From the FULL TEXT Article:
Primary chronic headaches i.e. chronic migraine (CM), chronic tension-type headache (CTTH) and chronic cluster headache has significant health, economic and social costs. About 3% of the general population suffers from chronic headache with female predominance . The International Classification of Headache Disorders III β (ICDH–III β) defines CM as ≥15 headache days/month for at least 3 months with features of migraine in ≥8 days/month, CTTH is defined as on average ≥15 days/month with tension-type headache for at least 3 months, and chronic cluster headache as attacks at least every other day for more than 1 year without remission, or with remissions lasting <1 month .
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