Can manual therapy help migraine sufferers?


There is controversy out there as to whether articulatory manual techniques are effective in some aspects related to migraine. Research took place to monitor the effectiveness of manual therapy on pain intensity, frequency of episodes, migraine disability, quality of life, medication intake and self-reported perceived change after treatment.


Migraine affects as many as 1 in 10 across the world, and it is on the increase. It is a primary headache, and is a leading cause of absenteeism in school and work, severely impacting quality of life. Migraine sufferers are commonly prescribed medication, and is sometimes ineffective or carries unfavourable side effects. Long-term use of medication can be a risk factor for chronic migraine. Due to the multi-factorial nature of migraine, identifying the triggers to episodes could be useful in offering non-pharmaceutical management strategies. Triggers such as stress and musculoskeletal dysfunctions could benefit from manual therapy techniques.


It was found that articulatory techniques were effective in reducing pain intensity, migraine disability and medication intake, while improving physical quality of life, and self-reported perceived change after treatment. These changes were maintained for one month. Significant differences were observed in terms of frequency of episodes and mental quality of life.