The relative effectiveness of cervical spine manipulation alone, dry needling alone and cervical spine manipulation combined with dry needling for the treatment of episodic tension-type headaches
Trollope, Leslie John Watts
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Episodic Tension–type headache (ETTH), which has a high prevalence, is the most common headache. Manual therapeutic approaches towards Episodic Tension-Type Headaches (ETTHs) have not been fully explored. However, cervical spine manipulation (CSM) and dry needling are found to be successful modalities for the treatment of tension-type headache (TTH). Therefore, this study aims to determine the effectiveness of CSM alone, dry needling alone and CSM combined with dry needling in the treatment of ETTHs. Objectives The objectives of this study include: determining the effectiveness of CSM alone, dry needling alone and CSM combined with dry needling in terms of objective and subjective data for the treatment of ETTHs. Method Forty five participants suffering from ETTHs, between the ages of eighteen and fifty, were recruited through convenience sampling and were randomly allocated to one of three equal groups (15 per group). The three different groups were: (A); CSM alone, (B); dry needling alone and (C); CSM in addition to dry needling. The study took place over a period of four weeks involving six consultations. Each participant received a headache diary for the duration of the study. At the first consultation the participant received the headache diary and was monitored for one week before the treatments commenced. Thereafter, four treatments were administered over the next two weeks, depending on group allocation. Participants were also monitored with the headache diary for one week after the last treatment. The objective data for each participant consisted of cervical range of motion (CROM) and pressure–pain threshold readings, measured using a CROM goniometer and an algometer respectively. The subjective data for each participant was collected using a headache diary and a headache questionnaire/disability index. SAS version 9.1.3 was used to analyse the data. A p value of <0.05 was considered as statistically significant. Results A decrease in headache duration, frequency, intensity and severity and increases in CROM and algometer measurements were observed in all groups. However, no statistically significant differences were found between the three groups in terms of objective and subjective measurements although, a statistically significant improvement from consultation five to six was found in Group C in terms of headache disability. Conclusion CSM and dry needling, used in isolation or in combination are effective in the treatment of ETTHs although Group C did show superiority over the other groups in the long term with respect to the disability index.