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J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2014 Oct;18(4):576-85. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2014.01.001. Epub 2014 Jan 10.

Treatment of tension-type headache with articulatory and suboccipital soft tissue therapy: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

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Physiotheraphy Department, University of Valencia, Spain. Electronic address:
Physiotherapy Department, University of Murcia, Spain.
Physiotheraphy Department, University of Valencia, Spain.
Physiotherapy Department, University of Sevilla, Spain.


This study researches the effectiveness of two manual therapy treatments focused on the suboccipital region for tension-type headache. A randomized double-blind clinical trial was conducted over a period of four weeks with a follow-up at one month. Eighty-four patients with a mean age of 39.7 years (SD 11.4) with tension-type headache were assigned to 4 groups which included the following manual therapy treatment: suboccipital soft tissue inhibition; occiput-atlas-axis global manipulation; combination of both techniques; and a control group. The primary assessment consisted of collecting socio-demographic data and headache characteristics in a one-month base period, data such as age, gender, severity of pain, intensity and frequency of headache, among other. Outcome secondary assessment were: impact of headache, disability, ranges of motion of the craniocervical junction, frequency and intensity of headache, and pericranial tenderness. In the month prior to the study, average pain intensity, was rated at 6.49 (SD 1.69), and 66.7% subjects suffered headaches of moderate intensity. After 8 weeks, statistically significant improvements were noted. OAA manipulative treatment and combined therapy treatments proved to be more effective than suboccipital soft tissue inhibition for tension-type headache. The treatment with suboccipital soft tissue inhibition, despite producing less significant results, also has positive effects on different aspects of headache.



Effectiveness; Manual therapy; Tension-type headache

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