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October 2021

Systematic review of randomized clinical trials of complementary/alternative therapies in the treatment of tension-type and cervicogenic headache

Author(s): McDermaid, C., Hagino, C.

Abstract: Objectives: To conduct a systematic review of the randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTS) of complementary/alternative (CAM) therapies in the treatment of non-migrainous headache (i.e. excluding migraine, cluster and organic headaches).Design: Systematic review with quality scoring and evidence tables. Main outcome measures: Number of RCTs per therapy, quality scores, evidence tables. Results: Twenty-four RCTs were identified in the categories of acupuncture, spinal manipulation, electrotherapy, physiotherapy, homeopathy and other therapies. Headache categories included tension-type (under various names pre- 1988), cervicogenic and post-traumatic. Quality scores for the RCT reports ranged from approximately 30 to 80 on a 100 point scale. Conclusion: RCTs for CAM therapies of the treatment of non-migrainous headache exist in the literature and demonstrate that clinical experimental studies of these forms of headache can be conducted. Evidence from a sub-set of high quality studies indicates that some CAM therapies may be useful in the treatment of these common forms of headache.

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