Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of Manual Therapy Utrecht (MTU) plus education in patients with cervicogenic somatosensory tinnitus (CeT).
Study design: Pretest-posttest design.
Method: Five hundred and six patients were referred or referred themselves. A subgroup of patients was identified with CeT, and within this a subgroup with tinnitus sensitization (TS). Two CeT groups were created based on the presence or absence of TS. Both groups underwent manual therapy combined with tinnitus education. Tinnitus intensity (VAS-tin 0-100 mm) was the primary outcome measure. Number of treatments and adverse effects were the secondary outcome measures.
Results: A total of 122 patients with CeT (24.1%) were included (average age 53.3 years [±9.8], female 38.5% and duration of tinnitus 7.3 years [±8.9]). Patients were divided into two groups: 55 patients (45.1%) with TS (CeT + TS group) and 67 patients (54.9%) without TS (CeT - TS group). Pretest to posttest differences on the VAS-tin were statistically significant within both groups (CeT - TS group: difference VAS-tin 5.9 [p = 0.01]; CeT + TS group: difference VAS-tin 18.2 [p = 0.00]), and between the groups in favor of the CeT + TS group (difference VAS-tin 12.3 [p = 0.01]). Pretest to posttest differences were clinically significant for the CeT + TS group (difference VAS-tin 18.2 [MCIC = ≥10 mm VAS-tin]) and between the groups (difference VAS-tin 12.3 in favor of the CeT + TS group). The average number of treatment sessions was 9.6 (±2.6) for the CeT - TS group and 10.3 (±2.5) for the CeT + TS group, a non-significant difference. There were no adverse effects in either group.
Conclusions: Despite its limitations, this study provides valuable information on both the characteristics of patients with CeT and TS in a Dutch primary care manual therapy practice and on the potential effectiveness of MTU combined with tinnitus education for the subgroup of CeT + TS patients.
Keywords: Cervical spine; Education; Manual therapy; Outcome; Somatosensory tinnitus; Tinnitus sensitization.
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