Title

Development of a clinical prediction rule for identifying women with tension-type headache who are likely to achieve short-term success with joint mobilization and muscle trigger point therapy

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-1-2011

Abstract

Objective.- To identify prognostic factors from the history and physical examination in women with tension-type headache (TTH) who are likely to experience self-perceived clinical improvement following a multimodal physical therapy session including joint mobilization and muscle trigger point (TrP) therapies. Background.- No definitive therapeutic intervention is available for TTH. It would be useful for clinicians to have a clinical prediction rule for selecting which TTH patients may experience improved outcomes following a multimodal physical therapy program. Methods.- Women diagnosed with pure TTH by 3 experienced neurologists according to the International Headache Society criteria from different neurology departments were included. They underwent a standardized examination (neck mobility, pressure pain thresholds, total tenderness score, presence of muscle TrPs, Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form, the Neck Disability Index [NDI], the Beck Depression Inventory, and the Headache Disability Inventory) and then a multimodal physical therapy session including joint mobilization and TrP therapies. The treatment session included a 30-second grade III or IV central posterior-anterior nonthrust mobilization applied from T4 to T1 thoracic vertebrae, at C7-T1 cervico-thoracic junction and C1-C2 vertebrae for an overall intervention time of 5 minutes Different TrP techniques, particularly soft tissue stroke, pressure release, or muscle energy were applied to head and neck-shoulder muscles (temporalis, suboccipital, upper trapezius, splenius capitis, semispinalis capitis, sternocleidomastoid) to inactivate active muscle TrPs. Participants were classified as having achieved a successful outcome 1 week after the session based on their self-perceived recovery. Potential prognostic variables were entered into a stepwise logistic regression model to determine the most accurate set of variables for prediction of success. Results.- Data for 76 subjects were included in the analysis, of which 36 experienced a successful outcome (48%). Eight prognostic variables were retained in the regression model: mean age <44.5 years, presence of left sternocleidomastoid TrP, presence of suboccipital TrP, presence of left superior oblique muscle TrP, cervical rotation to the left > 69°, total tenderness score <20.5, NDI <18.5, referred pain area of right upper trapezius muscle TrP >42.23. Conclusions.- The current clinical prediction rule may allow clinicians to make an a priori identification of women with TTH who are likely to experience short-term self-report improvement with a multimodal session including joint mobilizations and TrP therapies. Future studies are necessary to validate these findings. © 2010 American Headache Society.

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