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Papers of the Week

Papers: 4 Feb 2023 - 10 Feb 2023


Human Studies


2023 Feb





Additional effects of pain neuroscience education combined with physiotherapy on the headache frequency of adult patients with migraine: A randomized controlled trial.


Meise R, Carvalho GF, Thiel C, Luedtke K


To assess the efficacy of pain neuroscience education combined with physiotherapy for the management of migraine. Physiotherapy can significantly reduce the frequency of migraine, but the evidence is based only on a few studies. Pain neuroscience education might pose a promising treatment, as it addresses migraine as a chronic pain disease. In this non-blinded randomized controlled trial, migraine patients received physiotherapy + pain neuroscience education or physiotherapy alone, preceded by a three-month waiting period. Primary outcomes were frequency of headache (with and without migraine features), frequency of migraine and associated disability. Eighty-two participants were randomized and analyzed. Both groups showed a decrease of headache frequency (p = 0.02, d = 0.46) at post-treatment (physiotherapy: 0.77 days, 95%CI: -0.75 to 2.29 and physiotherapy + pain neuroscience education: 1.25 days, 95%CI: -0.05 to 2.55) and at follow-up (physiotherapy: 1.93, 95%CI: 0.07 to 3.78 and physiotherapy + pain neuroscience education: 3.48 days, 95%CI: 1.89 to 5.06), with no difference between groups (p = 0.26, d = 0.26). Migraine frequency was reduced significantly in the physiotherapy + pain neuroscience education group, and not in the physiotherapy group, at post-treatment (1.28 days, 95%CI: 0.34 to 2.22, p = 0.004) and follow-up (3.05 days, 95%CI: 1.98 to 5.06, p < 0.0001), with a difference between groups at follow-up (2.06 days, p = 0.003). Migraine-related disability decreased significantly in both groups (physiotherapy: 19.8, physiotherapy + pain neuroscience education: 24.0 points, p < 0.001, d = 1.15) at follow-up, with no difference between groups (p = 0.583). Secondary outcomes demonstrated a significant effect of time with no interaction between time and group. No harm or adverse events were observed during the study. In comparison to physiotherapy alone, pain neuroscience education combined with physiotherapy can further reduce the frequency of migraine, but had no additional effect on general headache frequency or migraine-related disability. The study was pre-registered at the German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS00020804).