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Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

Efficacy of manual therapy treatments for people with cervicogenic dizziness and pain: protocol of a randomised controlled trial

Susan A Reid*, Darren A Rivett, Michael G Katekar and Robin Callister

Author affiliations

The Faculty of Health, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia

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Citation and License

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012, 13:201  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-201

Published: 18 October 2012

Abstract

Background

Cervicogenic dizziness is a disabling condition characterised by postural unsteadiness that is aggravated by cervical spine movements and associated with a painful and/or stiff neck. Two manual therapy treatments (Mulligan’s Sustained Natural Apophyseal Glides (SNAGs) and Maitland’s passive joint mobilisations) are used by physiotherapists to treat this condition but there is little evidence from randomised controlled trials to support their use. The aim of this study is to conduct a randomised controlled trial to compare these two forms of manual therapy (Mulligan glides and Maitland mobilisations) to each other and to a placebo in reducing symptoms of cervicogenic dizziness in the longer term and to conduct an economic evaluation of the interventions.

Methods

Participants with symptoms of dizziness described as imbalance, together with a painful and/or stiff neck will be recruited via media releases, advertisements and mail-outs to medical practitioners in the Hunter region of NSW, Australia. Potential participants will be screened by a physiotherapist and a neurologist to rule out other causes of their dizziness. Once diagnosed with cervciogenic dizziness, 90 participants will be randomly allocated to one of three groups: Maitland mobilisations plus range-of-motion exercises, Mulligan SNAGs plus self-SNAG exercises or placebo. Participants will receive two to six treatments over six weeks. The trial will have unblinded treatment but blinded outcome assessments. Assessments will occur at baseline, post-treatment, six weeks, 12 weeks, six months and 12 months post treatment. The primary outcome will be intensity of dizziness. Other outcome measures will be frequency of dizziness, disability, intensity of cervical pain, cervical range of motion, balance, head repositioning, adverse effects and treatment satisfaction. Economic outcomes will also be collected.

Discussion

This paper describes the methods for a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of two manual therapy techniques in the treatment of people with cervicogenic dizziness for which there is limited established evidence-based treatment.

Trial registration

ACTRN12611000073909