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Physical treatment of migraine


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Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, Structural and chiropractic

Handb Clin Neurol. 2024:199:171-177. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-823357-3.00006-9.


Denise Millstine, David Patchett, Deborah Elam


Physical modalities, including acupuncture, massage therapy, physical therapy, and spinal manipulation, are commonly sought for migraine headache management. Acupuncture has been helpful in management of migraine, particularly as an adjunct to standard therapy. Some studies support acupuncture in combination with electroacupuncture and a traditional Chinese medicine form of massage called tuina as beneficial. An estimated 15% of patients with migraine seek spinal manipulation with osteopathic physicians or chiropractors, though evidence of benefit is lacking and potential for adverse effects is low but present. Studies of massage therapy in migraine have been heterogeneous and of low quality, often combined with other manual therapies to show effect. While manual therapies appear to reduce pain and improve quality of life, further study is needed to determine which specific types of manual therapy are most effective. While exercise is good for all patients, specific migraine management with physical therapy and regular exercise is not supported by evidence. Nevertheless, these modalities should be considered in certain situations when performed by trained and licensed professionals. Keywords: Acupuncture; Massage therapy; Migraine headaches; Physical modalities; Spinal manipulation.

Publication Date: 

2024 Mar



Millstine, D., Patchett, D., Elam, D. (2024) 'Physical treatment of migraine', Handb Clin Neurol. 2024:199:171-177. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-823357-3.00006-9.

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