Two articles on PainSci cite Espí-López 2014: 1. The Complete Guide to Chronic Tension Headaches 2. What Happened To My Barber?
PainSci notes on Espí-López 2014:
This is one of the only trials of spinal manipulation for tension headache in recent history (since discouraging reviews in the past). It’s positive, but — considering the source — the risk of bias here seems rather high. The same authors wrote a review that came to positive conclusions on this topic, but no one else has (see Posadzki 2011, Lenssinck 2004, Fernández-de-Las-Peñas 2006). The abstract reports only the statistical significance of their positive results, rather than their clinical significance (an effect large enough to actually matter to anyone). Browsing their data, I think it’s an ambiguous mix: some of the outcomes they measured (quite a few) show modest but probably meaningful benefits … while several others struck me as clinically trivial.
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of manipulative and manual therapy treatments with regard to pain perception and neck mobility in patients with tension-type headache.
METHODS: A randomized clinical trial was conducted on 84 adults diagnosed with tension-type headache. Eighty-four subjects were enrolled in this study: 68 women and 16 men. Mean age was 39.76 years, ranging from 18 to 65 years. A total of 57.1% were diagnosed with chronic tension-type headache and 42.9% with tension-type headache. Participants were divided into 3 treatment groups (manual therapy, manipulative therapy, a combination of manual and manipulative therapy) and a control group. Four treatment sessions were administered during 4 weeks, with posttreatment assessment and follow-up at 1 month. Cervical ranges of motion pain perception, and frequency and intensity of headaches were assessed.
RESULTS: All 3 treatment groups showed significant improvements in the different dimensions of pain perception. Manual therapy and manipulative treatment improved some cervical ranges of motion. Headache frequency was reduced with manipulative treatment (P < .008). Combined treatment reported improvement after the treatment (P < .000) and at follow-up (P < .002). Pain intensity improved after the treatment and at follow-up with manipulative therapy (P < .01) and combined treatment (P < .01).
CONCLUSIONS: Both treatments, administered both separately and combined together, showed efficacy for patients with tension-type headache with regard to pain perception. As for cervical ranges of motion, treatments produced greater effect when separately administered.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- No long-term effects after a three-week open-label placebo treatment for chronic low back pain: a three-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Kleine-Borgmann 2022 Pain.
- Exercise and education versus saline injections for knee osteoarthritis: a randomised controlled equivalence trial. Bandak 2022 Ann Rheum Dis.
- Association of Lumbar MRI Findings with Current and Future Back Pain in a Population-based Cohort Study. Kasch 2022 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- A double-blinded randomised controlled study of the value of sequential intravenous and oral magnesium therapy in patients with chronic low back pain with a neuropathic component. Yousef 2013 Anaesthesia.
- Is Neck Posture Subgroup in Late Adolescence a Risk Factor for Persistent Neck Pain in Young Adults? A Prospective Study. Richards 2021 Phys Ther.