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Int J Ther Massage Bodywork. 2012;5(1):5-13. Epub 2012 Mar 31.

Reduction of current migraine headache pain following neck massage and spinal manipulation.

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Faculty of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran.



Migraine headache significantly impacts the health of individuals and of society. The application of simple physical nonpharmacological techniques could greatly reduce the therapeutic costs and side effects in acute onset of such headaches.


Ten male patients (mean age was 32.0 ± 10.59 years) with acute onset of a migraine headache according to IHS-2004 diagnostic criteria were enrolled in the study. Neck and upper thoracic spine massage and manipulation technique was performed. Headache pain intensity was assessed before and after the intervention by means of a verbal analog scale.


Following treatment, headache pain intensity was significantly reduced compared to the pretreatment values (1.85 ± 1.11 vs. 5.80 ± 2.25, p = .005). As a percentage, this represents a mean pain reduction of 68.77% ± 18.56. No side effects were observed, and all of the patients reported satisfaction with the intervention.


Our results show that the applied cervical and upper thoracic massage and manipulation technique could reduce the headache attack pain intensity in patients with migraine headaches, though further testing, including study designs that make use of control groups, is needed.


abortive treatment; cervical spine manipulation; migraine; neck massage

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