Evidence-Based Guidelines for the Chiropractic Treatment of Adults With Headache
A ChiroSecure Research Update
Abstract: The purpose of this manuscript is to provide evidence-informed practice recommendations for the chiropractic treatment of headache in adults.
Discussion: Twenty-one articles met inclusion criteria and were used to develop recommendations. Evidence did not exceed a moderate level. For migraine, spinal manipulation and multimodal multidisciplinary interventions including massage are recommended for management of patients with episodic or chronic migraine. For tension-type headache, spinal manipulation cannot be recommended for the management of episodic tension-type headache. A recommendation cannot be made for or against the use of spinal manipulation for patients with chronic tension-type headache. Low-load craniocervical mobilization may be beneficial for longer term management of patients with episodic or chronic tension-type headaches. For cervicogenic headache, spinal manipulation is recommended. Joint mobilization or deep neck flexor exercises may improve symptoms. There is no consistently additive benefit of combining joint mobilization and deep neck flexor exercises for patients with cervicogenic headache. Adverse events were not addressed in most clinical trials; and if they were, there were none or they were minor.
Conclusion: Evidence suggests that chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation, improves migraine and cervicogenic headaches. The type, frequency, dosage, and duration of treatment(s) should be based on guideline recommendations, clinical experience, and findings. Evidence for the use of spinal manipulation as an isolated intervention for patients with tension-type headache remains equivocal.
Reference: Bryans R, Descarreaux M, Duranleau M, Marcoux H, Potter B, Ruegg R, Shaw L, Watkin R, White E. Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with headache. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2011 Jun;34(5):274-89. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2011.04.008. PMID: 21640251. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21640251/