Cervicogenic headache (CGH) refers to headaches caused by neck pain, and researchers report that 18 per cent of patients with chronic headache have cervicogenic headache. Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) is the most popular type of treatment provided by Osteopaths, and many studies have shown that SMT is extremely successful in patients suffering from neck musculoskeletal disorders, including those with cervicogenic headaches. Nonetheless, no consensus exists on the sufficient number of SMT therapies to obtain optimum benefits for CGH.
A research team conducted a large-scale study involving 256 chronic CGH patients in a 2018 study to assess how many therapies are required to achieve optimal results using CGH SMT. For six weeks, the investigators randomly allocated participants to one of SMT’s four dosage ranges (0, 6, 12, or 18 visits). The SMT method consisted of manual manipulation of the high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) thrust in the cervical and upper thoracic regions. A short, normal spinal palpatory test from occiput to T3 to assess discomfort and controlled motion determined the position of the spinal change. In elderly patients and/or those suffering from acute pain, the manual therapy has been updated to operate at low velocity, low amplitude. To monitor continuity of visit and care of the doctor, patients began to receive a light massage treatment after the number of visits prescribed to a patient had been reached, before the six-week treatment period ended.
Following the end of the study’s recovery process, the participants used a headache log to keep track of their headaches for the coming year. The findings found that over the next twelve months, the patients who received the most SMT therapies had less headaches. More precisely, the researchers determined that over the next year, six additional SMT visits resulted in about twelve fewer days with headaches.
When you are suffering from headaches, consider visiting an Osteopath to decide when cervical dysfunction is a potential cause or contributing factor and whether you are a candidate for manipulative spinal treatment.
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