2010 RCT shows Specific Exercises Reduce Cervicogenic Headaches!
Reference:Ylinen J, Nikander R, Nyk�nen M, Kautiainen H, H�kkinen A. Effect of neck exercises on cervicogenic headache: a randomized controlled trial. J Rehabil Med. 2010 Apr;42(4):344-9.
Here is a 2010 study that every PT who manages individuals with cervicogenic headache must know.
180 women with chronic cervical pain and cervical headaches were randomly assigned to 3 groups.
Group 1 (Strength Training Group): Prescribed isometric, dynamic and stretching neck exercises
Group 2 (Endurance Training Group): Prescribed dynamic muscle and stretching neck exercises
Group 3 (Control Group): Prescribed neck stretching exercises only
After 1 year…
Group 1 (Strength Training Group): Headache decreased by 69%
Group 2 (Endurance Training Group): Headache decreased by 58%
Group 3 (Control Group): Headache decreased by 37%
Study Conclusion: After 1 year of exercising, combined stretching with muscle endurance or strength training was significantly more valuable than stretching alone.
Personal Comment:If I suffered from cervical headaches, I would immediately start a deep cervical flexor training protocol, progress to superficial cervical training and progress to scapular and upper limb strengthening. Sadly the pharmaceutical approach to temporarily helping headaches is far more advertised and far more popular approach.
To view a sample Cervical Training 6-week protocol, simply search the APTEI Clinical Library for “Cervical Muscular Training”.
Posted on: August 23, 2010