This trial is active, not recruiting.

Conditions headache, physical activity, quality of life
Treatments training group, control
Sponsor UKK Institute
Collaborator Jyväskylä Central Hospital
Start date September 2012
End date July 2015
Trial size 120 participants
Trial identifier NCT01664585, R12006, UKK Institute/173


The aim of this intervention study is to examine whether tailored exercise therapy training is effective and cost-effective to decrease headache frequency and intensity, reduce medication used for chronic headache and patients´ absence from work, improve their neck muscle force, cervical spine mobility, functional ability and quality of life, and increase general physical activity in chronic headache women at regular work during a 6-month intervention.

The intervention itself with pilot-tested upper-neck specific exercise regimen aims that patients would independently commit to train and exercise to reduce their headache, and thus increase their quality of life. In addition, reduced pain and frequency of headache may increase the objectively measured daily physical activity of chronic headache patients.

United States No locations recruiting
Other countries No locations recruiting

Study Design

Allocation randomized
Endpoint classification safety/efficacy study
Intervention model parallel assignment
Masking single blind (subject)
Primary purpose treatment
The rationale and means for the exercise program are to Motivate and teach participants for postural and motor control and strengthening exercises Monitor and motivate to continue exercise training, and to increase their physical activity Training is organised six times as a 60-min session during six months: two individually supervised sessions, and four following training sessions will be accomplished in groups of 10 participants guided by an experienced physical therapist. Three weekly similar home training sessions are recommended for participants. Information on amount of exercise sessions per week and repetitions of each exercise will be collected via exercise diary. To perform home training, a DVD and/or booklet will be provided to participants in the training group.
training group Movement control of neck
The 60-minute training sessions include a few mobilization techniques for upper neck. In detail, three different exercises concentrated on postural and motor control will be taught during the first two training sessions. Progressively, two additional exercise movements aiming at postural and motor control will be taught in the next session. After eight weeks, two muscle strength exercises utilising therapeutic rubber band will be included into the program. The aim of the rubber band exercises is eventually to achieve the load of 80% of maximal voluntary contraction. The participants in the training group are also instructed to increase their amount of physical activity progressively according to the current physical activity recommendations.
(Sham Comparator)
The control group will receive six sessions of Transcutaneous Nervous Stimulation treatment (TNS) as a placebo treatment (0), and the participants in this group are recommended and encouraged to maintain their previous normal level of physical activity and exercise habits throughout the study without any supervision or home training programs.
The control group will receive six sessions of Transcutaneous Nervous Stimulation treatment (TNS) as a placebo treatment (0) and the participants in control group are recommended and encouraged to maintain their previous normal level of physical activity and exercise habits throughout the study without any supervision or home training programs.

Primary Outcomes

Change from baseline in headache intensity at 6 months
time frame: At baseline and follow-up after 6-months intervention

Secondary Outcomes

Amount and intensity of weekly physical activity
time frame: At baseline, after 6-mo, 12-mo,and 24-mo
Health economics
time frame: At baseline, after 6-mo, 12-mo, and 24-mo
Quality of Life (QoL)
time frame: At baseline, after 6-mo, 12-mo, and 24-mo
Fear avoidance beliefs
time frame: At baseline, after 6-mo, 12-mo, and 24-mo
Frequency of headache
time frame: At baseline, after 6-mo, 12-mo, and 24-mo
time frame: At baseline, after 6-mo, 12-mo, and 24-mo

Eligibility Criteria

Female participants from 18 years up to 60 years old.

Inclusion Criteria: - women aged 18 to 60 and currently at work and aim to continue at same work at least two years - intensity of headache on Visual Analog Scale (VAS) has been equal or greater than 45 mm (scale 0-100) during last two months - Headache Impact Test TM [HIT-6 Scoring Interpretation Finland (Finnish) Version 1.1] 58/78 points Exclusion Criteria: - severe degenerative changes at cervical vertebra or discus (including discus prolapse) - whiplash injury or injury, which is contraindication for exercise and active lifestyle - treated with manual therapy or physiotherapy within a previous month - changed medication known to affect headaches during a previous month - changed bifocals during previous month - athletic trainees (3 or more times per week) - alcoholic and/or drug addicts/ AUDIT The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, Finnish version - mental depression

Additional Information

Official title EXERCISE TRAINING WITH PHYSICALLY ACTIVE LIFESTYLE TO REDUCE HEADACHE AND INCREASE QUALITY OF LIFE. A Randomised Controlled Trial of the Effectiveness and Cost-effectiveness of Exercise Training and Physical Activity on Chronic Headache
Principal investigator Riku P Nikander, PhD
Description Tension-type,migraine and cervicogenic headache are the most common reasons for visits to a primary care physician among working women. Headache has major economic impact due to patients' absence from work, and pharmacy claims. Neck symptoms induce three percent of all visits to a primary care physician and 1 % of all costs in health care, and moreover, institutionalizing increase costs of treatment. Active treatment may offer cost-effective option for outpatients. In addition, there is no data showing how much headache/neck pain restricts participation in physical activity (PA) or other activities in society. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether specific therapeutic exercises reduce cervicogenic headache cost-effectively, and simultaneously improve neck function and quality of life. The other aim is to evaluate the effect of exercises on daily PA in women with chronic headache. The following hypotheses will be tested: 1. Specific therapeutic exercises based on individual training reduce cost-effectively cervicogenic headache and improve neck function, and quality of life on women at regular work during a 6-month intervention 2. The intervention increases general physical activity of women with cervicogenic headache 3. The intervention assists them to manage the headache by way of exercising during the follow-up. 4. Physical activity of women with chronic cervicogenic headache is lower than average in Finnish population. The HEADEX intervention study is a randomized controlled trial. Volunteers, women at regular work and having ongoing status with chronic migraine and/or cervicogenic headache will be recruited using newspaper advertising, from the register of Finnish Migraine Society and occupational health care services in Helsinki, Tampere and Jyvaskyla. The study sample is restricted to women, as the headache is much more common in women. After recruitment, the eligibility of patients to participate is screened. In total, the aim is to obtain 120 women to participate. The two subsequent baseline assessments and follow-up of headaches with the diary between two months before the beginning of the intervention enable ensuring intensity and type of the headache and that it is chronic. Randomisation is centralised but the intervention will be accomplished and clustered in three study centres. Sample size has been estimated for the primary outcomes. The number of participant will be 60 women in treatment and 60 control group. The 6 months exercise intervention consists of 6 supervised progressive exercise training sessions and home training program, and the participants are instructed to increase their PA. The main emphasis of the exercise program is to improve and relearn postural and movement control of neck, and later on strengthen the postural muscles. The exercise intervention consists of six supervised progressive exercise training sessions to teach rehabilitative training technique with similar home training program. Before the intervention, information on work ergonomics will be enquired and if needed, changes will be recommended. The control group will receive Transcutaneous Nervous Stimulation treatment (6 times) as a placebo treatment (intensity 0), and recommendation to maintain their PA at previous level. The follow-up is identical for both groups, and information on exercise frequency is collected up to 24 months follow-up.
Trial information was received from ClinicalTrials.gov and was last updated in May 2015.
Information provided to ClinicalTrials.gov by UKK Institute.