A Randomized Pragmatic Clinical Trial of Chiropractic Care for Headaches With and Without a Self-Acupressure Pillow

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. Nov-Dec 2015;38(9):637-643. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2015.10.002. Epub 2015 Nov 6.

Abstract

Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine if the addition of a self-acupressure pillow (SAP) to typical chiropractic treatment results in significantly greater improvement in tension-type and cervicogenic headache sufferers.

Methods: A pragmatic randomized clinical trial was conducted in a chiropractic college teaching clinic. Thirty-four subjects, including tension-type and cervicogenic headache sufferers, 21 to 60 years of age, male or female, completed the study. Group A (n = 15) received typical chiropractic care only (manual therapy and exercises), and group B (n = 19) received typical chiropractic care with daily home use of the SAP. The intervention period was 4 weeks. The main outcome measure was headache frequency. Satisfaction and relief scores were obtained from subjects in the SAP group. Analysis of variance was used to analyze the intergroup comparisons.

Results: Owing to failure of randomization to produce group equivalence on weekly headache frequency, analysis of covariance was performed showing a trend (P = .07) favoring the chiropractic-only group; however, this was not statistically significant. Group A obtained a 46% reduction of weekly headache frequency (t = 3.1, P = .002; d = 1.22). The number of subjects in group A achieving a reduction in headaches greater than 40% was 71%, while for group B, this was 28%. The mean benefit score (0-3) in group B of the use of the SAP was 1.2 (.86). The mean satisfaction rating of users of the SAP was 10.4 (2.7) out of 15 (63%).

Conclusion: This study suggests that chiropractic care may reduce frequency of headaches in patients with chronic tension-type and cervicogenic headache. The use of a self-acupressure pillow (Dr Zaxx device) may help those with headache and headache pain relief as well as producing moderately high satisfaction with use.

Keywords: Acupressure; Headache; Randomized Clinical Trial; Spinal Manipulative Therapy.

Publication types

  • Pragmatic Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acupressure*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manipulation, Chiropractic*
  • Middle Aged
  • Post-Traumatic Headache / therapy*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Tension-Type Headache / therapy*
  • Young Adult