Childhood tension-type headache (TTH) is a prevalent and debilitating condition for the child and family. Low-cost non-pharmacological treatments are usually the first choice of professionals and parents. The study examined the outcomes of specific strength training for girls with TTH.
Forty-nine girls 9-18 years with TTH were randomised to patient education programmes with 10 weeks of strength training compared with counselling by nurse and physiotherapist. Primary outcomes were headache frequency, intensity and duration; secondary were neck-shoulder muscle strength, aerobic power and pericranial tenderness, measured baseline, after intervention and at 12 weeks follow-up. HRQOL questionnaires were assessed at baseline.
For both groups headache frequency decreased significantly, p=0.001 and likewise for duration p=0.022, with no significant between-group differences. The odds of having headache a random day decreased during 22 weeks by 0.65 (0.50-0.84) (OR (95%CI)). For both groups neck extension strength decreased significantly with a decrease in cervicothoracic ratio to 1.7, indicating a change in muscle balance. In the training group shoulder strength increased ≥ 10 % in 5/20 girls and estimated VO2 max increased ≥ 15% for 4/20 girls.
Both training and counselling lead to headache reduction. Adjusting muscle-balance seems to precede strength gains. Exercising might lead to important changes in the child’s physical capability and health. Restructuring patient education and examining dose-response of exercising is recommended.
No conflict of interest.
Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits use, duplication, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
- EHMTI-0157. Specific strength training compared with interdisciplinary counselling for girls with tension-type headache – a randomised controlled trial
- Springer Milan
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