Excel Physical Therapy Participates in a Research Study on Cervicogenic Headaches
Seeking Research Study Participants
Headaches can cause lost time from work, visits to multiple physicians, and a general loss in quality of life. The major categories include migraine headaches, tension headaches, TMD headaches, and cervicogenic headaches. While cervicogenic headaches are not the most common type of headache, the prevalence in the general population is estimated at 15%.
Cervicogenic headaches are defined as one sided, or one side dominant, head pain, which is caused by a neck problem. Other symptoms include stiffness in the neck, decreased range of motion in the neck, increased headaches with neck movements or poor cervical postures, and a possible history of trauma. Although physical therapy can be effective in treating tension headaches and TMD related headaches, cervicogenic headaches have shown, in multiple studies, excellent response to manual therapy. Mechanical joint and muscle restrictions in the neck lead to a referral of pain into the head (cervicogenic headache). Manual therapy based physical therapy utilizes hands-on techniques to restore muscle and joint mobility, eliminating the head pain.
Interestingly, research indicates that manual therapy success in treating cervicogenic headaches does not depend on chronicity. Cervicogenic headache patients can benefit from manual therapy treatments whether the symptoms have been present for 20 days or 20 years! As a manual physical therapist for 15 years, my success rate with treating cervicogenic headaches has been very high. Our research from this study hopes to clinically show which manual therapy techniques are the most effective for treating cervicogenic headaches.
Excel Physical Therapy is enrolled as a clinical site in a national research study to determine the best manual therapy techniques to treat cervicogenic headaches. There are several other clinical sites throughout the United States also collecting data on real patients being treated in a physical therapy environment. Mobilization or manipulation of the neck and upper back are the two manual therapy variables in this study. Mobilization is a joint “popping” technique and mobilization is a joint “stretching” technique.
The Treating PT at our clinical site is skilled and trained in performing both spinal mobilization and manipulation. One treatment group will receive only manipulation and the other treatment group will receive only mobilization and exercise. We anticipate that both groups will benefit from the manual therapy treatments, but the magnitude of improvement is part of our research question. Both groups will have 6 physical therapy visits over 2 to 4 weeks.
We are looking for patients to be part of this study – To be included:
patients must have one side dominant head pain, pain in the neck or the base of the skull that is felt to project into the head, and at least one headache per week for at least 3 months.
Patients cannot be included in the study if they have a history of stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, smoking, or whiplash injury to the neck in the last 6 weeks.
Patients are not being offered free treatments in this study. As with all of our patients, cost for physical therapy services will follow our normal fee schedule and we are happy to bill your insurance or provide you with a payment plan. In most cases, a doctor’s prescription is not required to receive physical therapy services in Montana. Excel Physical Therapy is a preferred provider for many insurance companies as well.
Please contact me if you meet the criteria for this study or if you have any questions.
David Coletta, MPT, CMPT -Treating Physical Therapist
david at excelptmt.com (insert the @ sign in your email message)
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