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Table 1 Study characteristics

From: Craniosacral therapy for chronic pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

ReferenceOriginChronic pain conditionSample sizeMean agePercentage of womenExperimental interventionControl interventionAssessment pointsOutcomesSafetyFunding
Arnadottir 2013 [36]IcelandMigraine2037.6 ± 9.390%6 CST treatments (semi-standardized therapy protocol) over 4 weeksWLPost- Functional disability (HIT-6)N.r.N.r.
Bialoszewski 2014 [37]PolandLow back pain5533.0 ± 7.0N.r.3 CST treatments (standardized therapy protocol) over 2 weeks3 trigger point treatments over 2 weeksPost- Pain intensity (LPIQ)N.r.N.r.
- Functional disability (LPIQ)
Castro-Sanchez 2011 [38]SpainFibromyalgia10952.5 ± 11.7100%40 CST treatments (semi-standardized therapy protocol) over 20 weeks40 non-manual sham treatments (inactive magnet therapy) over 20 weeksPost 7mFU- Global improvement (CGII)No withdrawal due to AEsNo specific funding
Castro-Sanchez 2016 [39]SpainLow back pain6450.0 ± 12.066%10 CST treatments (semi-standardized therapy protocol) over 10 weeks10 soft tissue massage treatments over 10 weeksPost 3.5mFU- Pain intensity (NRS)No withdrawal due to AEsNo specific funding
- Functional disability (RMQ)
Elden 2013 [40]SwedenPelvic girdle pain12330.6 ± 3.9100%5 CST treatments (semi-standardized therapy protocol) over 8 weeks + TAUTAUPost- Pain intensity (VAS)Patients with minor AEs: CST = 5/63 UC = 6/60Government research grant
- Functional disability (ODI)
- Physical quality of life (EQ. 5D)
Haller 2016 [41]GermanyNeck pain5444.6 ± 10.081.5%8 CST treatments (semi-standardized therapy protocol) over 8 weeks8 sham manual treatments (light touch) over 8 weeksPost 5mFU- Pain intensity (VAS)Patients with minor AEs: CST = 7/27 Sham = 9/27Funding from university (treatments) and CST associations (publication fee)
- Functional disability (NDI)
- Physical quality of life (SF12-PSC)
- Mental quality of life (SF12-MSC)
- Global improvement (PGII)
Hanten 1999 [42]United StatesTension-type headache6036.0 ± 12.071.7%1 CST treatment (single technique)No treatmentPost- Pain intensity (VAS)N.r.N.r.
Mann 2012 [35]United StatesMigraine6942.1 ± 16.094.2%8 CST treatments (semi-standardized therapy protocol) over 8 weeks + TAU8 non-manual sham treatments (inactive/active magnet therapy) over 8 weeks + TAUPost- Pain intensity (Diary: severe headache hours/day)N.r.Government research grant
- Functional disability (MIDAS)
Mataran-Penarrocha 2011 [43]SpainFibromyalgia10449.1 ± 14.196.4%50 CST treatments (semi-standardized therapy protocol) over 25 weeks50 non-manual sham treatments (disconnected ultrasound) over 25 weeksPost 11mFU- Pain intensity (SF36-BP)Patients with AEs: CST = 0/43 Sham = 0/41N.r.
- Functional disability (SF36-PF)
- Physical quality of life (SF36-GH)
- Mental quality of life (SF36-MH)
Nourbakhsh 2008 [44]United StatesLateral Epicondylitis2352.4 ± 7.239.1%6 CST treatments (single technique) over 3 weeks6 manual sham treatments (light touch) over 3 weeksPost- Pain intensity (NRS)N.r.N.r.
- Functional disability (PSFS)
  1. Abbreviations: AE Adverse event, CGII Clinical Global Impression of Improvement Scale CST Craniosacral Therapy, EQ. 5D European Quality of Life Measure, HIT-6 Headache Impact Test, LPIQ Laitinen Pain Indicator Questionnaire, mFU months of follow-up after randomization, MIDAS Migraine Disability Assessment Score, NDI Neck Disability Index, N.r.: not reported, NRS Numeric Rating Scale, ODI Oswestry Disability Index, PGII Patient Global Impression of Improvement Scale, PSFS Patient Specific Functional Scale, RMQ Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire, SF12/36-PCS/MCS/BP/GH/MH/PF: 12/36-Item Short Form Health Survey-Physical Component Score/Mental Component Score/Bodily Pain Subscale/Mental Health Subscale/General Health Subscale/Physical Function Subscale, TAU Treatment as usual, VAS Visual Analogue Scale, WL Waiting list