Manipulation for Migraines: Does it work?

Over 100 Norwegian patients who reported of at least one migraine episode a month were included in this study. The patients were randomly allocated into 3 groups for a period of 3 months.


Group 1: Received chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy (CSMT)


Group 2: Sham treatments involving scapular mobilizations


Group 3: Control group / usual pharmacological management


Result #1: All 3 groups had reduced number of migraine days from baseline to post-treatment.


Result #2: After 6 and 12 months the benefits continued for those in the CSMT and sham groups, whereas the patients in the control group regressed.


Result #3: There were no differences between the group receiving either the chiropractic manipulations (group 1) or sham scapular mobs (group 2).


Study conclusion: The effect of the chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy used in this study was probably due to a placebo response.


It is amazing how with no evidence, some claim to “cure” migraines. In reality the treatments are nothing more than placebo. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge supporter of placebo but I just don’t think we need to do manipulations to get a placebo effect.


Reference: Chaibi A et al Chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy for migraine: a three-armed, single-blinded, placebo, randomized controlled trial. Eur J Neurol. 2016 Oct 2.

Cervical Manip

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