A prospective randomized multicenter trial.
To investigate the effects of surgery with either structured postoperative physiotherapy or standard postoperative approach on neck-related headache in patients with cervical radiculopathy. Secondary, to investigate associations between change in neck-related headache and change in neck muscle endurance, neck mobility, or neck pain.
Summary of Background Data.
The effect of physiotherapy on individuals with neck-related headache after surgery for cervical radiculopathy due to magnetic resonance imaging–verified disc disease is unknown.
One hundred six patients with neck-related headache and participating in a randomized controlled trial evaluating the additional effects of physiotherapy after surgery for cervical radiculopathy were included. Patients were randomized preoperatively to structured postoperative physiotherapy (n = 51) or the standard postoperative approach (n = 55). Outcome measures were headache intensity and neck pain intensity, neck muscle endurance, and neck mobility. Measures were obtained preoperatively and at 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year postoperatively.
Headache intensity significantly changed from baseline to 1 year postoperatively (P < 0.001) in both groups. Post-hoc tests showed a significant difference between baseline and 6 weeks (P ≤ 0.05). No significant differences were found between groups (P > 0.05) or between-group differences in changes over time (P > 0.05). The change in current headache intensity over time was associated with a change in current neck pain intensity over time (P = 0.003, β = 0.40).
There was a significant improvement in headache intensity 1 year postoperatively in patients with cervical radiculopathy and neck-related headache, but there were no differences between groups over time. Change in current headache intensity was only associated with a change in current neck pain intensity.
Level of Evidence: 2