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.
STUDY DESIGN: Literature review of quality of clinical trials.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the methodological quality of published randomized controlled trials that used spinal manipulation and/or mobilization to treat patients with tension-type headache (TTH), cervicogenic headache (CeH), and migraine (M) in the last decade.
BACKGROUND: TTH, CeH, and M are the most prevalent types of headaches seen in adults. Individuals who have headaches frequently use physical therapy, manual therapy, or chiropractic care. Randomized controlled trials are considered an optimal method with which to assess the efficacy of any intervention.
METHODS: Computerized literature searches were performed in MEDLINE, EMBASE, COCHRANE, AMED, MANTIS, CINHAL, and PEDro databases. Randomized controlled trials in which spinal manipulation and/or mobilization had been used for TTH, CeH, and M published in a peer-reviewed journal as full text, and with at least 1 clinically relevant outcome measure (ie, headache intensity, duration, or frequency) were reviewed. The methodological quality of the studies was assessed independently by 2 reviewers using a set of predefined criteria.
RESULTS: Only 8 studies met all the inclusion criteria. One clinical trial evaluated spinal manipulation and mobilization together, and the remaining 7 assessed spinal manipulative therapy. No controlled trials analyzing exclusively the effects of spinal mobilization were found. Methodological scores ranged from 35 to 56 points out of a theoretical maximum of 100 points, indicating an overall poor methodology of the studies. Only 2 studies obtained a high-quality score (greater than 50 points). No significant differences in quality scores were found based on the type of headache investigated. Methodological quality was not associated with the year of publication (before 2000, or later) nor with the results (positive, neutral, negative) reported in the studies. The most common flaws were a small sample size, the absence of a placebo control group, lack of blinded patients, and no description of the manipulative procedure.
CONCLUSIONS: There are few published randomized controlled trials analyzing the effectiveness of spinal manipulation and/or mobilization for TTH, CeH, and M in the last decade. In addition, the methodological quality of these papers is typically low. Clearly, there is a need for high-quality randomized controlled trials assessing the effectiveness of these interventions in these headache disorders.
- “Spinal manipulations for cervicogenic headaches: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials,” an article in Headache, 2011.
- “The effectiveness of physiotherapy and manipulation in patients with tension-type headache: a systematic review,” an article in Pain, 2004.
These three articles on PainScience.com cite Fernández-de-Las-Peñas 2006 as a source:
- PS Complete Guide to Headaches — Detailed, readable self-help for tension headaches and other common musculoskeletal headaches
- PS The Chiropractic Controversies — An introduction to chiropractic controversies like aggressive billing, treating kids, and neck manipulation risks
- PS Does Spinal Manipulation Work? — Spinal manipulation, adjustment, and popping of the spinal joints and the subluxation theory of disease, back pain and neck pain
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:
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- Effect of NSAIDs on Recovery From Acute Skeletal Muscle Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Morelli 2017 Am J Sports Med.
- Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Paige 2017 JAMA.